“The song is ended, but the melody lingers on.” –Irving Berlin
When the windows are closed at the farmhouse the chorus frog symphony is muted, and sometimes I mistake the frogs’ pulses for vibrating crickets.
But last night, around eleven, when I drove into the farm from a concert and opened the entrance gate, a full spring peeper songfest greeted me.
Tree frogs also known as spring peepers were singing around the quarry pond beside our driveway. Males sing to attract mates and as their voices urgently call forth, humans also pay attention. Whether we find their song an audible harbinger of spring or just a pleasant seasonal sound, the chorus frogs enchant us too.
I couldn’t help but lean back against my Jeep, my black evening dress spreading out around me, as I took in the amphibian performance.
Spring peepers produce their sound from an air sac they puff out and draw in. Each song is different. Their chorus is not the Buddhist-like drone of crickets. The frogs seem to begin on a low note and trail off on a high one. Some frogs’ voices are lower-pitched than the norm and some raspier, while many are thinner and weaker. Put together the mix makes a pleasing musical. It’s a musical with a surprise ending though, for one never knows when the peepers will suddenly fall silent.
And so when silence fell like pitch over the landscape, I retreated to my Jeep, pulled my long gown in with me and slowly drove toward the farmhouse.