Sunday, February 22, 2009

Life Cycles


As a child, I used to keep frogs as pets. We would collect tadpoles, and marvel at their transformation into frogs. (The tails absorb into the frogs' bodies!) I fed my frogs with bugs that I collected in my father's immense woodpiles. And, usually, the frogs would escape and we would end up chasing them around the living room.

When I worked at the Glimmerglass Opera in rural upstate New York, my friend Ellen told me about her friend who owned a local plant nursery. He kept track of the seasons, and had a record of the date that the spring peepers started singing every year. I was always in awe of his connection with the beautiful part of the country that he called home.

Robb and I moved around so much over the years that we often didn't get to know a place well enough to appreciate the subtleties of the the passing of the seasons.

Right now, I'm working in an amazing studio in a truly rough part of West Oakland. Our studio is next to the freight train yards, under the legs of the freeway. People regularly abandon the contents of entire apartments on the side of the road, and we often come to work and see the burned pavement and broken glass where someone has torched a car.

We don't see a lot of spring wildflowers, where I work.

It has been raining like crazy this week, and for whatever reason, there's been a break in the rain just as I'm leaving work at 7pm. And each night, I've stopped and listened because there has been a unmistakable chorus of frogs singing.

It was remarkable to hear something so lovely in such an unlikely place.


Anonymous said...

I love the way you find beauty in the roughest of places. For me, peepers always evoke memories of springtime in New Hampshire. The woods behind our home became alive with a nightime chorus as soon as the sun melted the winter's snow.


Mel said...

It's so nice to hear about spring and frogs from back here in bitter Baltimore February. Thanks for the birthday wishes, Lisa - it's so wonderfully you to have time to think of things like sending me wishes when you're pulled in so many directions right now. I hope you have safe travels and many comforting hugs.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I can listen to the cold blustery wind outside my house blow branches off the trees until my ears freeze off! It's still very much winter here in lower Pennsylvania.

I used to hear those frog peepers in Florida in the Everglades, until the alligators ate them.

The one thing I want to know- about the sounds of France you will soon be hearing- do the police cars in Europe still have those - eeeee-rrrrrr--eeee-rrrr- sirens I used to hear in all the Pink Panther movies? I loved that.

Now I'm not suggesting you break the law or anything like that in order to answer my question.....

-but it would be a nice effort.


Kristen said...

heh, nature. I went from living on a boat in Baltimore (the only natural sounds you hear are seagulls and the occasional croaker in your trawl net) to New York, where nature is typically chased out of the apartment with a broom (or smushed with a newspaper). Interestingly, yesterday I was walking down the sidewalk and came across an emergency phone box that had something rustling around in it. I didn't approach, but some nostalgic part of me thought "oh, what a tidy little mouse-house!"

Anonymous said...

You leave for France tomorrow and,therefore,(lawyers love that last word)"Bon Voyage" and a question: is it a 'voyage' a flight over the Atlanic Ocean? Roget's is big on making the word very salty. Remember all the good times with your Dad over the years with your sister and enjoy the company you are with.
Mom and Dad B

Anonymous said...

I am taking this opportunity to say that today was Wednesday, and it got up to 40 degrees today. It was sunny, so it felt deceptively warm, so of course Gary and I get the bright idea to take the opportunity to replace a gutter downspout that had come loose and blown off the house. It's supposed to rain like mad and be windy in a few days, so it had to be done.

Well we had to use a ladder to do this right? And Robb has a history with ladders, right? Well, he will appreicate the humor in this story. Between Gary and I trying to use this gigantic extending ladder, and trying to open it up and not knock out a window or ourselves, we ended up screaming QUITE A LOT at each other today. We did get the drain pipe fixed- by hook or by crook- and managed to do some morter patching as well around the attic and second story windows also.

All ended well, and we got the job done. But suffice to say, according to our neighbors we are now officially known as Miss A**hole and Mr Mother****er.



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