Saturday, April 9, 2011

Of Peepers And Bears

Here in Vermont we get two kinds of peepers:  leaf peepers and spring peepers.

Leaf peepers are "flatlanders" who come "from away" to peep at "the colors" during "foliage season."  (Can you tell I've become proficient in Vermontese?)  Although they tend to clog the roadways and ask quaint questions such as "what do y'all do up here all winter?" they contribute to the local economy and add a certain color all their own.

Spring peepers are universally beloved.  Tiny frogs less than one-and-a-half inches long, they emerge from under the leaves of the forest floor and out of the muck of the swamps and begin to make the most delicious din.  This happens right as "sugaring" ends, when night time temperatures remain above freezing.  I can't tell you how thrilling it was last night, as I let the dogs out, to hear the first peepers of 2011 in the swamp at the bottom of our woods.  And today, right on schedule, the first little frog (but too big to be a peeper) swam up from the muck at the bottom of our fish pond, and perched on a dead leaf that was floating on the surface.

Things are waking up everywhere, and the State of Vermont has issued its annual warning to the citizenry to put away their bird feeders until next October.  Black bears are coming out of hibernation, whole tribes of them, hungry and temperamental, and there's not much for them to eat, so bird feeders act as bear magnets...which is precisely why I foolishly leave mine up.

In other news, a herculean young neighbor finished filling our two-foot-high vegetable beds with dirt.  All I have to do is distribute the contents of two compost bins among the beds, and then I can start planting.  But the really major news is that it's 4 p.m. right now and I'm writing this outside, in the sun.  Only if you have lived through a winter like the last one can you feel this way about spring...which is why I refuse to fly anywhere for relief from the cold.  The depths of misery (well, almost) followed by the heights of exultation--I like my seasons bi-polar.  And you?

7 comments :

  1. No peepers here in Cabot, yet. Just the steady trickle of melting snow and yes, finally, some robins. But our ears of attuned to the outside sounds as we anxiously await those little frogs! Another sign of spring is the steady stream of adventurers coming through town to tour the Cabot Creamery. "Cheese Peepers" - does that count?

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  2. Cheese peepers--I love it! We have a few of those in West Pawlet too, making a pilgrimage to Consider Bardwell Farm.

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  3. After living through your winter, you deserve to feel some exultation.

    Do you ever see bears? (Wonderment from the Kiwi)

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  4. Mali, on a never-to-be-forgotten spring night three years ago, a black bear showed up at our bird feeder, a couple of yards from where we were sitting inside. Wolfie barked and the bear snuffled around a bit, then loped back into the woods. I was beside myself with joy.

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  5. Peepers make me ridiculously happy.

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  6. I think this year they're louder than ever.

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