Tuesday, May 01, 2012


It’s that extravaganza time of year, that speed-of-light time with the cherry blossom fireworks and the perfumed air, when Spring is getting serious about returning with a bigger show than ever, and around here that means the paddies are being readied in their turn, all down the mountainside.

Flooded one by one, faceting the mountain to set the stage, the skymirrors are then left idle for a heartfelt length of time while the rice seeds make their ancient way to planting size, but despite all this activity with all these focuses, these Spring days do not belong to the farmers or to the rice; these days belong to the frogs. All the frogs. Big frogs and little frogs, of all the froggy dispositions in the land about.

Stirred from the rain-softened mud, warmed by the sun and prodded by the primal mood, at dusk when the big silence falls, the male frogs begin their vocal warmups, and do they ever sing at this time of year, sounding their best against the plush background that is country silence, silence as there was the other night when I was coming up the road into the deeper deeps of quiet and darkness, all topped by the white spark of Venus above a thin slice of floating moon about to set behind the mountain, as the frogs tested their repertoires and began to sing with all that natural sincerity you get out here.

What an a capella group, performing in the Pure Land Mountain Amphitheater. If you stopped still to listen, and focused your ears, you could make out the individual frogs - the little one over there in a corner of a paddy trying out a rapid tremolo peep, and over there a veteran profundo laying down a thick, slow bass line, as a whole mountainside of song began to build, swelling and waning then swelling again, like a vast flock of birds turning and turning as one in the air, all the courting songs swirling together on waves in the night, serenading all the frog ladies with one of life's greatest hits.

The aftershow party went on all night.


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