Spring Has Officially Sprung

Or maybe I should say spring has “leaped”. After all the snow and cold, lifeless silent winter days when it seemed that weeks went by without hearing a single bird call, it happened – the wood frog mating croak singing blissfully in the middle of the day.

No matter what the calendar might say, I’ve learned that spring in New Hampshire only begins with the mating cry of the amphibians.

They’ve laid their eggs, which hatched last week, spilling hundreds of tad poles into the increasingly shallow waters of our vernal ponds, sharing space with hundreds, if not thousands, of fairy shrimp.

While the weather people predicted one of the “wettest” springs on record, it has been anything but.

With elevated forest fire dangers, and being centered in 3 acres of woods, I find myself reverting to Fire-Watch mode practiced while living through one of the worst and deadliest fire seasons in Utah.

Unlike Utah, where vernal ponds would have dried up in a day, I find myself worrying over the little lives that will struggle for existence in the shallow vernal pond waters should there not be a good rain – and soon. Tempting thoughts of forming a bucket brigade, from the end of my garden hose to the pond, occupy my thoughts far more than I should probably admit.

Still, spring continues, ignoring my worries and fears. Early this week, the Spring Peepers started their evening call, a chorus of what I could easily say is several hundred, but in reality, difficult to really say how many.

Try as we might, head counts are impossible, especially given the fact they have incredible hearing and are silenced into hiding by the crackling of last falls leaves underfeet, even from a distance of 100-feet.

Even with the daytime calling of the wood frogs and the splendid evening chorus of the Spring Peepers, I still hesitate to allow myself a Winter Is Over mindset.

Having been raised in Minnesota, the cultural mentality of “don’t get your hopes up because the weather won’t remain nice”, is still too embedded in my spirit, all these years later.

Come to think of it, it was good training for life in New Hampshire.

A few more weeks of Spring Peeping, a few more reports to be submitted to the National Wildlife Federation’s Frogwatch and I just might entertain thoughts of storing my long underwear and electric blanket until next November, when it starts all over again – the longing for the return of the wood frogs and Spring Peeper mating calls.

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