Sunday, March 22, 2009

The nature of Nature

Like the gardener’s proud memory of that perfectly plump tomato plucked from the vine before last season’s frost, our great successes often lead us to believe we will find the same, again.
We search and hope, and often leave empty-handed.
For that is the nature of Nature.

The pools this year are oddly quiet.
With the image of dozens of spotted forms tumbling over one another in the cool water, then rising to the surface to grab breaths of air before returning to their midnight dance replaying excitedly in my mind from last spring, I’ve waited alone by the water’s edge each night, to find barely of trace of them here this year.
The dark water is still.
And in the beam of my light, I find only one,
motionless, on the oak leaf floor of this pool.

The frogs are quieter, too—
the gelatinous, silvery egg masses that almost covered the narrower reaches of water, this time, are just a few, solitary softball-sized clumps. And the riotous croaking and clasping of masked males boldly floating upon the surface has been replaced by a handful of casual callers--
a voice here, a voice there,
quickly quieted by the beam of my sweeping light.

Flock of Cedar Waxwings in tree overhead

And so I find myself, on this bright afternoon, looking out across the surface of Little Pond pool from the warm, dry grass of the berm--
wondering what has happened to all I had hoped, rather, expected, to see in this small basin.
Was last year's wonder too perfect to be replayed?

Or, is this dry spring moving more slowly, drawing them out one by one, rather than in the more visible large numbers? Or have the several especially dry summers starved them and baked them as they fought the drought from the parched tunnels of the woods and fields?

Or is this simply a reminder of the nature of Nature?
Wildly wonderful, ever changing.

Cedar Waxwings, Bombycilla cedrorum

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Wanda said...

I remember thinking at the end of last summmer while planting ornamental do the earth worms and other creatures survive in such dryness...googled know how deep into the earth they must digging to China for them!

cestoady said...

Your perceptive essay has captured the essence of the organic world --- change. This spring is apparently not their year -- but they will be back and lets hope you will again see them as you first did. And so it goes.

Deborah Godin said...

Such poetic ruminations on the natural, visible world! And how surprised would those little creatures be if they could know how dearly they are missed?!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I want to think it is the Nature of Nature. I don't like to think of the frogs etc being descimated by drought. This has been a dry spring. Of course last year we had record breaking rains. Sigh... We need some rain now. Hopefully this week. Then maybe your froggies will come a hoppin.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Nina, Neat post--and thought-provoking.. Mother Nature keeps telling us that she is in charge--and we just have to do the best we can to live through all of the changes.

Love the Cedar Waxwings.. I saw my first group of them when we were hiking to a waterfall in Tullahoma, TN. I got SO excited.

Hope all is well with you.

Kallen305 said...

Sorry to hear that your friends have not been heard from much yet. Winter just doesn't want to give up its grip it appears!

mon@rch said...

We just need one heck of a Rain Storm . . . still waiting for the big night to happen in my area!

Kelly said...

...interesting and beautiful post. I really enjoyed it. I've noticed a change at my house also. The number of white-throated sparrows singing their lovely spring song has been very low. Have you noticed a difference? I'm so used to hearing it in the early spring and miss it!

Bernie said...

Another enjoyable blog and your descriptions are breathtaking, I so enjoy them. Mother Nature has been a bit better to your area than Alberta but I am sure she will be kind to us soon:)

Old Wom Tigley said...

I do hope all is well and they are just late this year.. Your writing just gets better each time I visit I'm left wishing you'd wrote more... your writing holds my interest and is very easy to read.


Wiggers World

jozien said...

So true.
'wildly wonderful, ever changing'
You say it perfect!

Julie Zickefoose said...

I can't remember a spring without peepers or mountain chorus frogs or wood frogs, but this seems to be it. The drought has snuck up on us, hasn't it? There just hasn't been any traveling weather for them--warm rainy nights.

I do have faith that they can start later if need be, if the rains indeed come. And that they can persist, year-to-year. But it does seem that nature is crueler than usual of late. Lovely essay.