When the Earth Hummed
At the beginning of this month we offered our annual Spring Peeper ‘hunt’. With flashlights in hand and rubber boots on feet, families ventured into the wetland to find this thumbnail-sized frog called the Spring Peeper.
The males make a somewhat loud peeping noise, many together can make a very loud sound (some say like sleigh bells) that can be heard from up to two miles away! It took a while but finally we started to ‘catch’ some – in our flashlight beams as well as actually in-hand.
The wetland was very dark but the rising almost-full moon provided a hint of light, not to mention it’s beautiful reflection in the open water in the middle.
And then, starting very slowly from this open water, there came, hesitatingly at first, and then with a let-er-rip feeling, a sound that can only be described as ethereal, ancient, deep. All we could do was stop, listen and and allow our bodies to be part of this earthly surround-sound experience.
A child asked ‘Is that the earth humming?’ Maybe it is. Or could be. Why not? How magical and full of wonder! If the earth were to hum I could not think of a better place than where we were, another season or a different sound.
I would be happy to leave you with the thought of a humming earth. We looked into the water with our flashlights and saw nothing.
But I would be remiss.
The sound was the mating calls of toads, doing the same thing in the same wetland that the peepers were doing. Knowing this does not negate the imagination or sense of wonder that brought forth the question about the earth humming. One does not have to restrict oneself to one way of looking at the earth. There does not have to be an either/or. As we say at camp, “Open your mind and say ‘Ahh'”.
There may still be time after you receive this Dirt to go out to a wetland at night and be part of the humming. You will never forget it.
This is the last issue of The Dirt until September. Camp is about to begin and we have many outdoor things we’ll be attending to with our campers; maybe even discovering other ways in which the earth hums.
Have a great summer! We plan to.