So I know it might be weird that suddenly I’m talking about frogs, but I think this is pretty in line with the gradual shift towards musings and monologues taking precedent over pictures. Not that pictures are going anywhere. And my leanings towards inconsistent and sporadic blogging isn’t going to change, to be perfectly honest, but I think I’m refining how I want to write and share things. It’s a neat experience that you can read a little more about in my updated about me, but right now feels like a good time to talk about frogs.
Frogs. Before I go into it, though, I should say none of this is real science. Like, I’m not brave enough to even google things because I don’t want to be disabused of this particular theory just yet. It’s kind of a fun one.
Okay so frogs. We moved around for a bit after elementary school. It was one of those post-divorced things, like our family was a big fluffy hen trying to find the right batch of dirt to scratch into a bed. We kept landing lightly, but we had a hard time finding anywhere we could settle. There was one place, though, that felt really right for a while. It was this huge, multi-building apartment complex and ours was pressed right up along the back of the whole thing. Behind it was a beautiful, big pond that stretched the whole way around the back perimeter and there were these beautiful walkways through it that we’d walk our dogs along.
At night, from about early April until mid October you could hear this almighty chorus of frogs. It was like this loud wall of noise surrounding you as you sleep, and while it was noisy as hell it always put me to sleep. I’m not the best sleeper, but listening to frogs as I dozed in bed was soothing. I think it was something about the lack of a constant rhythm, but still maintaining a steady heartbeat that helped lull my breathing patterns into sleeping ones.
I forgot about that period of listening to frogs until last year, when David and I lived in this adorable little tucked away apartment. It was in the middle of a city sprawl, sure, but it had a great trail running behind it with an almost-gross standing pond area that collected mosquitos, feral cats, and a homeless man. And frogs, of course, because that’s the whole point. David and I were laying in bed, some early point in spring after living there for all of winter, and I heard a chorus of frogs. It was beautiful and we just dozed a little listening to it. We started talking about the rhythm, and how it’s a little strange that they never synchronize into one steady pulse, isn’t it? You’d kind of expect it, like how infants’ heart beats stabilize when they have skin-to-skin contact.
I picture the frogs surrounding a pond in a circle, and directly across from them is their match, the frog they volley back and forth with. Each frog has only one other match, or maybe two, but they are tuned only to their match(es). They volley back and forth their own steady rhythm, tuning out all the other matches around them, and that’s how you get such a chaotic chorus while still maintaining that steady pulse.
David and I went camping with some amazing friends. They do this annually to celebrate their wedding anniversary, inviting along a bunch of their friends, and it’s a totally amazing experience that I’m not actually going to talk about now, but needless to say there are some really great traditions, and one of them is the Frog Walk. As we were laying out on the end of a beach access road, listening to a wall of frogs pulse around us, I was thinking about how the more complicated the pond dynamic, the harder it is to find your frog match. When you’re really relaxed, though, in that moment before you fall asleep or when you can concentrate meditatively, then you can piece apart the different frog voices and you can almost hear the private volley of frogs croaking to their matches.