In Winter Comes Frog Song

(Becoming a Naturalist, Part 40.)

A prose poem by Jack Phillips.

 

In these deep ravines we have become apprenticed to frog song washing over us from springs and riffles the thin swaddles of summer eggs and tadpoles. Tree frogs potent in wisdom and youth though always and ever small they whisper gospels, in chorus become the tissue of this place, teach us to fall into the puddle of being.

We are devoted to Hylidae in every season the family we belong to only in our dreams and yet, their trills and crikkity-tik-tik have webbed of our brains with sweet oozings my friends and I. Every poem has taken their meter with spacey lines like jumps and syllable froglets new to this land, the blank page.

Or maybe just me. But even so today in middle winter frozen underfoot fixed in ice, sexualities pulse between equinoxes, the leftover music from day-lengths longer than now. Silence given to frigid wind hovers over greenish words of fertile burning.

On sunny days the slimy ice releases midsummer memories. We can hear them when the wind stops and the birds listen too. But now in this moment something new: mixing with leftover music comes softly and fresh, the bubble-throat-singing of spring echoes backwards.

 

 

0101181509_HDR

Frog song frozen, spring-fed canyon in Iowa’s southern Loess Hills. Photo by Robert Smith.