Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Brain Droppings: Sure Sign of Spring

Anyone who knows me personally acknowledges my love of the warm weather. It's a trait that can, at times, drive them crazy about me, too! You see, I enjoy it so much that I have a tendency to whine about it when it's not here. It leaves people asking me, "if you need the warm weather so damned much, then why don't you move to where it is warm all of the time and stop being such a douche about it"?! Well, I hear them. But it's complicated. It involves family, work, and so on. Therefore, it's a story for another day. LOL.

I love it, mostly, because it is a time of plenty. Everything is alive. Even the air is filled with a caucacophony of sound ranging from the bells of an iced cream truck to the sound of children playing to the buzz of insects going about their business. The flowers are blooming and the crops are growing. And, being swarthy (I like that word!), I adapt easily to the sun and the heat. For one thing, I usually just wear less! And, because my skin is dark and I tan easily, as long as I'm sensible about it (i.e. avoid over-exposure and use sun screen when necessary, etc.) summers present little problem for me. In fact, I get dark so quickly that it's been said that all you have to do is show me a picture of the bright sun and I start to tan.

With this in mind, I am ALWAYS anxious for the end of winter -even an incredibly mild one like the one we just experienced. Therefore, I am very attuned to the harbingers of Spring. From the swallows returning to Capistrano to the blooming of the forsythia to the running of the Shad up the Hudson River to the return of Persephone to the earth, the signs of Spring's reemergence appear every year. They are constant (whether they remain that way is, again, a story for another day) and, if you make yourself aware of them, will enrich your heart with the cycle of life so clearly presented with these most welcome signs.

There is another indicator that will always be special to me, too; the sound of Pseudacris crucifer, more commonly known as the Spring Peeper frog. If you are lucky enough to be near a swampy body of water, when the temperature heats up just enough, you can't miss their incessant calling. Even if you can't see them, you can most certainly here them. Tens of thousands of male frogs peep their little hearts out in search of mates. PEEP. PEEP. PEEP. They certainly earn their common name; the Spring Peeper. And it only lasts for a short period - just the first, few early days of Spring - and only at night - just long enough to ensure mating and the survival of the species.

There is a spot on Rte. 9W near Sparkill, NY that I pass daily on my way to and from work that traverses a small, swampy area. It's just large enough to support a thriving ecosystem that includes, of course, frogs. And most of those frogs are Spring Peepers. On warm, early Spring nights, when I'm driving home, I always make sure to slow down through that area and roll down my windows and listen for that sound: PEEP. PEEP. PEEP. Last night was one of those nights. It had been unseasonably mild and I thought that they might be there, doing their thing. So, when I approached the area and no one was on my tail, I slowed the car and rolled down the window. PEEP. PEEP. PEEP. I hoped it. No, I KNEW it! They were back. So was Spring. And, accordingly, so was my spirit!

This eternal sign of the cycle of our precious Mother Earth is renewing of mind, body, and spirit. It is the realization of the promise of the return of life itself. It has been mythologized, spritualized, and immortalized by man since the beginning of time. Call it what you will, it IS the mystery of life. And it can be expressed in the most simple of ways. All you have to do is slow done a bit and listen.

I lingered for a moment and drew a deep breath and held it as long as could, as if to preserve that precious moment, even if just for a nano-second more. I listened, too. I let the sound go all the way into my soul. Then, I moved on - can't be holding up traffic on 9W for too long! But it was enough. Connected once again to the earth, I, like her, was reborn.

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