Friday, March 14, 2008

A Friend, and Frogs!

It is tracking time and I drag my son out to Belvedere to do species identification. My 3 year old wants to go. "You are going to have to walk," I say. She agrees, but when we get there, a huge tearful exchange begins because she wants to be carried. I try and hold my line of "you have to walk," but I can see this is a mistake. She is tired from being sick but wants to be included. I am about to pack it in when a blue 4 wheel drive vehicle zooms up, screeches to a hault, and a fierce woman steps out. Wow! It was kind of a surprise to see a vehicle where I was anyway (by the three large oaks that stand next to the Dunlora Farm property). I wouldn't drive my car down there. Then, to see a fierce woman. I am impressed! I know who this is, it is Pam Strother, the assistant development manager of Stonehaus. I had been told about her. Quickly I explain who I am so she is not going to kick me out (or beat me up, I can't tell which she would do first), but she quickly becomes a most gracious hostess and shows us all around, driving us down to the flood plain where the garden and the SOCA facility are going to be, narrating many of the stories about Belvedere I had been longing to here, and rescuing me from the tearful exchange I was having with Eleanor.

The land certainly is beautiful. We drive along the river. I look up along the ridge to see what trees are there, and what patterns I can see when I hear frogs! Please, stop the car! I get out and run over to what seems to be a vernal pool set into a "disturbed area" near where two creek beds come together. It is on the corner of Belvedere, the north east side of the garden. It is a loud singing chorus and I distinguish 3 species before jumping back into the car. Wetlands like that are so important, even if they do pop up in places where the land has been damaged from human use. Frogs mean food to many species, including otter and raccoons. I can't wait to further explore. Frogs mean life, as far as I concerned. Their mating calls are beautiful, and they are gifted beyond most species at camouflage, and it is their elusiveness but directness that hooks me. Come here, see me! they cry, to each other, but to me, they know when to be quiet and hide. I always feel a quiet thrill when I can sneak up on a group of frogs singing their mating calls, and it is something I teach children to do. Get quiet, find a place in your heart where you feel glad, walk softly on the earth, and keep your eyes open!


No comments: