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 And the riotous croaking and clasping of masked males boldly floating upon the surface has been replaced by a handful of casual callers--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.
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.