Wednesday, March 11, 2009

'The Good Old Days'

I got this blurb from an e-newsletter written by Ken Tate, 'The Good Old Days' magazine. Read On:

I am reminded this windy March morning that waiting for spring to come was probably the greatest test of my patience back in the Good Old Days. With the imminent arrival of the spring equinox, I was constantly looking for the signs of spring.

We had two ponds for watering stock on the old home place, just east of our house. To the west, at the bottom of a steep hill, was a spring that led to a stream that led to a creek that led to the White River. Water meant frogs. And frogs, according to Grandma Stamps, were the best predictors of spring.

"Mark my words," she would say, "when you hear the peepers twice and they're froze back, the third time, spring will be here to stay."

So, with feet aching to shed shoes and the other bonds of winter, I listened for the peepers.

Usually they made their first concert sometime in March, about this time of year. A warm few days, with nights above freezing, brought out the chorus of the early, timid choir. It usually began a few hours before sunset and only went until the evening's chill ran the croaking choir back into the warm mud. After a couple of evenings of serenading us, a cold snap -- maybe even a late March snow -- would freeze them back the first time.

"Two more times to go," Grandma would assure me.

The next appearance was more robust. Usually by then it was early April, and the more daring members of the choir would sing later and later into the spring evening. But then a hard freeze would again chase the peeping and croaking back to muddy silence.

"Just once more to hear them, mark my words," Grandma enjoined.

Then came the glorious day in April. After a cool start, the warmth of the springtime sun told me it had finally vanquished winter again. Still, it wasn't sure until, just before sunset, there it was -- the peepers' third appearance. Spring's freedom had arrived!

Nowadays I like to sit on my wooden swing under the walnut trees to the south of our house, particularly on March evenings. I like to watch the shadows grow long on the hillside across from our home. I like to feel the evening breeze waft gently across the yard. I like the scent of Janice's early flowers carried on that cool, spring breeze.

And I like to wait, patiently, for the peepers' first chorus. Its sound carries me back to wonderful springtime back in the Good Old Days.

If you want to hear the chorus of spring peepers, click here. Ignore the advertisement for the magazine if you wish, and click on the first link to listen to the peepers! It's nice to imagine spring is closer than it really is by listening to this choir of my favorite frogs.


^..^Corgidogmama said...

Such a good post today. I really enjoyed it. My sis in law, loves frogs, and hearing those peepers would make her smile so!

Angela said...

I have been hearing the frogs for the past few days around our house since it warmed up. Yesterday it was close to 80 degrees today we are dropping to 25 degrees tonight. They are saying that we might have one more snow! NO!!! I'm ready for Spring to come and so are the kids!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

I really like Mr. Tate's writing style. And many old-timers have valuable lore to share, like the peepers' third appearance heralding spring.