Spring Peepers

Winter comes.

Peepers are tiny one-inch frogs common throughout our woodlands. For months now, they have been silent, their sound as absent as the vibration of social hum during our COVID-19 days. Listen for cars, boats, and planes: it is not as it has been. A newspaper article makes mention of seismographic activity decreasing around the world.

So much stillness.

In the autumn, as temperatures dropped and nights grew long, peepers nestled beneath leaf litter, logs and tree rot for their winter stay (a kind of lockdown; a sheltering in place). As hunkered in solitude as many of us may feel today. 

In anticipation of winter, within the peeper’s cells, sugar concentrations rose, serving as a kind of natural anti-freeze. At the same time, cellular water concentrations fell, the water expelled to spaces outside and between the cells; if it should freeze there, the ice does little damage.

Through the dark and cold, their bodies changed, peepers are surviving.

(We change to survive.)

Today—now—days are lengthening and the weather is warming. Peepers are awakening, thawed and alive. Soon, a chorus will rise in spirited brio, filling our evenings in swelling crescendo. This is not a solitary deed: the peeper song engages in duet, trio, quartet, and more. The peeper song is a trill of fellowship.

In the coming days (and they will come), in the peepers’ joyous call marking the end of their amphibious winter gloom, we may find comfort and hope: for us too, that day will come when we emerge from our own gloomy retreats into the hale light of communal hallelujah.

As with the spring peepers, our day will come.