Page 17

Spring Song

how great he is, you tend to accept their testimony. In my case, it just confirmed my suspicions. Somewhere around here I actually had a whole interesting article on spring peepers, and now I can’t find it. So we turn to Wiki for a quick biological overview of Pseudacris crucifer. They range from the east coast of Canada down to Georgia, where their southern cousins take over the gene pool.

can fix anything and will come and change your f lat tire on a rainy night. (The story of how his wife, Terri, crawled out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and picked me up at the emergency room is a story for another time, but that was another adventure in this winter of discontent.) Okay, so it really was a foul winter, and no one wants to revisit it. People walked around with gray complexions, sun deprived, worn down to a fine powder by the endless grind of winter, winter, winter ... ugh. So the first sound of the spring peeper was almost enough to make me cry. We, who fancy ourselves as sophisticated worldly people of a certain age, were suddenly kids again, with a child’s capacity for wonder. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of evenings looking in the trees by the water for peepers. They were too wily for me, and when I approached, they fell silent. When I backed away, they began singing again. My father told me I’d never catch one because they were smarter than people and could smell us coming. He may or may not have had tongue firmly in cheek, but as a doctor, I’m sure he dissected more than his fair share of frogs, and because he was my father, I figured he knew everything. If you spend a lifetime having your father’s patients tell you

No wonder I couldn’t find them when I was a kid. They’re less than an inch long, dun colored, with a darker X on their backs (hence the crucifer designation). Anything that small and neatly camouflaged is going to be hard enough to find, but they also like wetland habitat, and tend to enjoy leafy debris-ridden ground instead of heights, which they evidently leave to the tree frog. They eat insects and spiders, and love mosquitoes, so they are definitely our friends. The female is slightly larger than the male, but the male is the singer. They 15

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