Farmer’s Calendar for May 2020

May 1, 2020

Months since the crickets quit, followed by a hundred nights with no terrestrial ruckus, we lie awake at night listening for that very first peep. Finally, on an evening slightly more balmy than chilly, it begins. Like the dying battery on a smoke alarm, a single chirp. Did we really hear it? Yes! A soprano note peeps again, serious and ponderous. Then it repeats its query, possibly expressing, Am I alone? For one night: It’s alone. Then: a zany mayhem, as the evening hours fill with the high-pitch cheeping of peepers. Several years ago, when our land held only a damp gulch, nothing croaked or creaked or peeped. Then an excavator clawed us a small pond, and almost overnight a boisterous amphibian orchestra commenced as dozens of frogs—wood frogs, tree frogs, northern leopard frogs, and spring peepers—announced their new residence. Is there no middle ground with these creatures? All or nothing, silence or cacophony? Case in point: Yesterday’s pond was clear; today, it’s clouded by thousands of frogs’ eggs floating in the shallows. Were we sleeping when the pond’s inhabitants released their progeny? This evidence suggests one thing: We’ll hear gulpers, croakers, and another bout of temporary soloists come next year’s unsilent spring.

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