Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Frog Days of Summer

Cope's Gray Tree Frog

The day has become dark, the air heavy.
This morning, standing waist deep in the field of blackberry brambles, their canes bent low beneath a load of plump fruit, I prided myself at having chosen the perfect day for their picking. Cool and clouded, it had allowed me to don the heavy garments that keep the thorns guarding their precious fruit at bay. And, wrapped in long pants, boots to the knee, and a double layer of long sleeves above, I had plodded out to the old pasture and taken up residence there, or so I thought, for what would be a full morning.
Within minutes, the first of many soft raindrops fell. And, not wanting to return to the house empty handed, I tucked the large bowl under a shirttail and continued picking in the rain. Steadily ticking onto the broadly-leaved canes, the shower drowned out every sound except that of some cedar waxwings above in a nearby tree. From the safety of the grass below, small tree frogs, spring peepers, climbed into view and peered at me with long inquisitive stares. Brought out from the tangles where they wait out the days of summer sun, this rainy day now suited them just perfectly. Soaking up every drop from the sky and drinking in what water covered every leaf, my sleeves quickly hung heavy, pants sagged and soon slung low. Drips found their way from my hairline to my brow, tumbling down my nose and cheek until I felt there was not one inch of me that hadn’t become wet.
As I reluctantly slogged back across the field, the few small trees rang with the raspy calls of gray tree frogs.
There is a distant rumble of thunder and still the steady rapping of raindrops on the leaves. A morning like this is what I love about the frog days of summer.

juvenile Cope's gray tree frogs

Cope's gray tree frogs use the covered top of our above ground pool for their breeding. The several inches of water they need to lay their eggs remains long enough for hundreds to turn from tadpoles to baby frogs in just a few weeks' time.
They emerge from the water as gorgeous green tiny-legged frogs and disappear into the grass of the backyard.

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holdingmoments said...

Enjoyed the walk in the rain Nina; and those little frogs are such beauties. So tiny.

Heather said...

Ack! Baby Tree Frog - killing me with its cuteness!

littleorangeguy said...

I have heard but never seen tree frogs. I find them fascinating. Thanks for the frog day!

Weeping Sore said...

Your marvelous description of your blackberry trip in the rain cooled me off on this too-bright summer afternoon. What amazing froggies!

Deborah Carr said...

Thanks so much for sharing this delightful post. I'm enthralled by your encounters with the tree frogs...and those babies do look inquisitive!

Here in New Brunswick (Canada) we have a gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor)sanctuary of sorts...the Hyla Park Reserve.

Echo said...

I was looking through frog photos to identify those hanging around my pool and stumbled upon your blog. Thrilled I did! Much talent here in the words, the pictures and the heart that accompanies both. I also know what my frogs are now and why a teenie newbie was hanging on the pool.
Thank you,

Appalachian Lady said...

I saw a large gray tree frog once but now I wonder about the little ones. These are wonderful photos--especially the one of the frog on the blade of grass. Looks like you really got down to see.

Mary said...

Your details are so real I lost myself! I was with you. I would have been delighted to see those little sweet frogs in the rain and don't think I'd realize I was being rained on.

KaHolly said...

Nina, delightful post, as always. Your gift for words humbles me. The photos of those little frogs are the sweetest!! ~karen

Adrienne in Ohio said...

You're back! I am so delighted to read this--I've missed your posts. I have never seen a frog as tiny as the one perched on your finger. That's amazing!

Kathiesbirds said...

Nina, what a sweet and tiny little green thing! I'm so glad you included the photo of it on your finger to give us a true idea of its size!