Attending An Outdoor Concert

The other night I was driving my sensei home from our Aikido practice, and I should have seen it as foreshadowing that a tree frog hopped across his road in front of us. I slammed on the brakes, got out, and moved the tree frog off the road. When I got home, the sound was almost deafening. Between the Woodcock’s mating call in the field in front of our house, to the cacophony from the peepers, to the buzzing of the June bugs, to the trilling of the tree frogs, it was quite the outdoor concert.

My husband and I grabbed our flashlights and went outside. Normally, it takes awhile to find the tiny peepers and hidden tree frogs, who often stop peeping and trilling as soon as you get close, but this particular night I found them in seconds. In the grass by the bluets, on the lounge chair, clinging to newly growing lupines and goldenrod, in bushes. They were so intent upon finding their mates, they didn’t stop peeping for more than a second.

Even the June bugs, gathering in hoards all around us, were mating in the grass, their eyes glowing when the light from the flashlight hit them. And even after I walked back to the house, there was a tree frog lying on the step to our front door. Out in such force it seemed as if we’d been invaded. And the next morning, they had vanished. They’re there of course, hidden somewhere, invisible as the stars in the day, waiting to reemerge as the sun sets.

I grew up in New York City, where outdoor concerts and night noises are commonplace but oh so different. While I love so much about cities – including the ability to often live more sustainably than in rural areas - I worry that as half of the world’s population moves to urban areas, generations are growing up completely unaware of the other species who share this planet, who sing and mate and carry on lives which are entwined with our own. How many readers of this blog, for example, have never heard a peeper and have no idea what they look like?

So enjoy the photos, courtesy of my husband, of a peeper peeping, a tree frog trilling, and a June bug waiting to mate, and then I hope you will find some time to go outside this spring, whether in the wilderness or an urban park, and listen to an evening outdoor concert.

Zoe Weil
Author of Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, Most Good, Least Harm, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education

Images (Gray Tree Frog, June bug and Northern Spring Peeper) courtesy of Edwin Barkdoll.

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