Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lullaby of Frogs

I was recently reading someone's blog (and which one it was totally escapes me - my apologies, if that person is among my readers!) in which the person posted about a bus driver who had stopped the bus for a frog on the road, got out, moved the frog to safety, and then been fired for their act of compassion. Public protest over the firing got her job back for her.

I used the story in one of my classes, in which I was discussing anthropocentrism - the attitude held by many humans that we are better than and more valuable than all other living things. We humans have a hierarchy of value, when it comes to life, and I am betting that if that bus driver had stopped for a human standing frozen in fear on the road, and helped that human to safety, there would have been no firing.

Biodiversity is a necessary part of environmental sustainability, and therefore a necessary ingredient for our own continued existence as a species. Why is that so difficult for people to understand?

(That said, I have already confessed in another post that I have a hard time giving maggots and slugs and moths the same value I do dogs and cats and pigs and people. Mea culpa.)

Anyway, back to the story of the frog. I read the story of the bus driver one evening, when the air was full of the sounds of frogs singing their evensong by the pond next door. Even with doors and windows closed, I hear them constantly. Open the back door, and I am awed by the full impact of amphibian orchestration, grandioso.

While there's nothing to see on this video, you will hear their song - the never ending chirping (minus the clack, clack, clack in the background which is some weird idiosyncratic feature of my camera - sounds like an old fashioned typewriter!) that I hear from dusk to dawn.

Last night, there was a new addition to the ensemble - a baritone singing solo from underneath the house! Somehow, what sounded like a large bullfrog had made his way into the dirt crawlspace, possible through the shallow watery channel which used to feed the well in the days when the house was built on top of its water source. Today I opened the cellar door to show him a route out, and tonight when he sings I hope it will be with the symphony outside.


Black Jack's Carol said...

I read that post as well, Jean. Here's the link:

I haven't time to remember how to do a proper click-on link, but if anyone is interested, they can copy-paste into their address bar.

Your topic is one that I've thought about quite a bit. I very, very rarely kill spiders, and have been known to carry them, as well as lady-bugs, outside. However, I am not, for example, as kind to flies and mosquitos. I think many of us tend to favor higher intelligence, or at least, intelligence of a more recognizably human type. I guess one distinction for me is along the lines of potential to cause harm (mosquitos, flies). However, I'm not quick to pick up harmless, and very useful, slugs, even if doing so would give them a longer life. I don't think I've ever killed one, but slimy is a bit of a turn-off.

But, to get back to the frog story, I did admire and appreciate that bus driver. And, I enjoyed your recording. Bill and I heard something similar in the endowment lands the other night. I thought there were crickets joining in with the choral arrangement.

Anonymous said...

I seldome hear frogs at my place. I find it such a treat when I visit my friend in Powell River and can fall asleep listning to the frogs in her pond.


Janice Gillett said...

I spend time here every day/night fishing worms and My feelings are that they are just trying to live there lives out like we are. I also have large sticks in my large water tanks for the horses in case anything that falls in has a way to get out.
When i was out at Jeans pig sitting i would sit out side every night to listen to the frogs songs. Loved the recording of there magic!!

Anonymous said...

As one who has trouble walking along sidewalks without stopping to rescue every stranded worm, I'm heartened to hear that others feel much the same. As for the frogs, when growing up I was lulled to sleep by such a chorus every spring, and while I can still hear frogsong in the distance where I now live, it's not the same as the cacophony of my childhood. Thanks for sharing that wonderful lullaby!

Regarding that bullfrog in your crawlspace, if that's what he/she is, he/she is NOT welcome here! Bullfrogs are interlopers -- an introduced species that is decimating the populations of smaller frogs, salamanders and even snakes! There is actually a bullfrog hotline to call (seriously) -- google BC Frogwatch for more details.

Deb S.