Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mountain Laurels Then and Now

We’ve entered the last days of mountain laurel season. Yesterday’s heavy rain and high winds downed many of the blossoms.

I can’t tell you why this plant grows so abundantly here--probably Mohican Lake’s elevation and soil conditions--but the blossoms ring the lake in June.

It's interesting how one flowering season differs from another, in the same way, for example, that one year yields more apples than another, or more blueberries, or more acorns.

This was not an abundant mountain laurel season in terms of the number of bushes in flower. Witness the difference between spring 2005 and spring 2007 as evidenced by pictures taken at about the same distance from the eastern shore at the peak of the season.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bullfrog Mating Season

Bullfrog mating season’s in full swing on Mohican Lake, which means that if your bedroom’s on the lake, be prepared for a restless night. You might wake up, as my brother did last spring, and say, “I hate frogs.”

Although the bullfrog is big by frog standards, its guttural croak is much bigger, designed, during most times of the year, to keep predators away, but during mating season, to attract a mate. And the competition is fierce. Who can croak the longest? Fifteen ungodly bellows, one after another, is not unusual. And who can croak the loudest? You can hear the bullfrog’s call a half mile away.

They croak at regular intervals, with a single frog beginning the chorus, joined by dozens, hundreds more trying to drown out each other. This lasts perhaps 20 seconds until they stop, wait 5 seconds, and then begin again. This remarkable cacophony begins at sunset and lasts until dawn, and endures for three long weeks.

Having heard it you’ll come to appreciate Emily Dickenson’s meditation on the same infernal racket:

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – Too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Listen to the mating call of bullfrog: