Why Do the Frogs Go on Singing?

Listening to the Hyla crucifer Hallaleujah Chorus

The several days following September 11, 2001, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I needed the reassurance that one horrendous event, even one caused by evil intentions, would not be the end of things. True, things would never be the same, but life goes on: the September sun and wind were no different, the pasture grasses smelled the same as always, and the blackbirds chirped nervously as they clustered up to migrate south.

And since the horrible events in Japan last week, I’ve found comfort in that same sense of unaltered pattern and predictability of nature on the small scale close to home.

Last Sunday, we visited some friends and hiked down to the beaver marsh on their property. Click to hear them: springpeepers. It could not have been any more life-affirming had it been the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus. (Earlier link hiccuped, replaced it with mp3 format so should work now.)

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I eagerly await the first sounds of the spring peepers each year. To me, nothing signifies the impending arrival of spring more than the chorus of those tiny creatures. It’s music to my ears!

  2. I turned my volume up all the way and I could barely hear any sound. Very faint peepers and voices. This was after you corrected the link.

  3. Dunno, sounds okay at my end. Got speakers turned up tops? Will fine tune. Recorded on droid. Uploaded to Dropbox. Converted via zamzar.com from 3gp to mp3 format, then uploaded to the server and linked to the blog. Sheesh! Outta be a way to bypass some of those steps.

  4. Sounds great (and I mean beautiful) from here. Another month, maybe 6 weeks, and we might be so lucky as to hear the peepers. We still have about 18 inches of snow on the ground, down to half of what we had 2 weeks ago. Now I’m ready for spring. Bring it on!

  5. Thanks for sharing the sounds. Waking up to the birds singing 1st thing in the morning the last few days is such a relaxing and joyous sounds to hear. The signs spring and new life is near.

  6. This morning, it was the robins! (A little robin goes a long way, but at first, their shrill warble is a happy sound. Then, enough already! like the whip-poor-wills we’ll hear in a few weeks. The first one makes the hair on your arms stand up; the last one makes your skin crawl!

  7. I’ve always found the whip-poor-will’s call soothing. It makes me think all is right in the world, or at least in my little part of the world.

  8. I find a faint whiff of skunk is sort of pleasant; but from too close…!

    Same w the whippoorwills–who seem to like it right under our bedroom window, and can go on and on and on incessantly for what seems like hours.

    OTOH, I do look forward to hearing the first one–as you say, Debbie, sort of soothing and reassuring.