It started with the peeper frogs. Theirs was the first song of spring I heard this year. Many people complain about the “noise” of the peepers, and I am sorry for them, that they are not able to allow this high, pure, angelic chorus to melt their hearts after a long winter freeze. I have no frogs in my yard right now, and the peepers are a few blocks away in the creek and in the woods, but they have big lungs on them, and the music weaves its way into my bedroom window at night over the mechanical drone of the paper mill below my house.
I have never in my adult life lived in town before, and it is a big adjustment. The seasonal sounds that stirred me all of my mature years are not so evident here. I have to listen for them, to put my attention to them so that I will not miss these holy songs. My body counts on the songs of the seasons, opening to them, morphing itself around them. The call of the geese in the fall beckons me into stillness, automatically. I don’t need to say to myself, “Susan, it’s autumn. Time to start turning within.” Because with the call of the geese in my ears, my body melts into deep quiet repose and stays there until spring….
And so I am listening this spring for the concert I love so much to be played here in the confines of my fenced little yard and rubbermaid-pond world. I heard an overture this morning out of the mouth of a new visitor to the hummingbird feeder: a returning rufous hummer. His high pitched “Zinnnng! Ziiiing!!” as he swoosed past my face was like rollicking fiddle notes.
Along the paths of my garden, tender green leaves are reaching tentative fingertips up from the black, wet ground. They have no voice that can reach my limited human ears, but the ears of my child-heart hear them, and their spring song is a soft, gentle “Ooooooohhh.” The newly planted apple, pear, and mulberry trees in our upper yard are singing, too. If I listen with all of my ears, I can hear the round, open sound of buds swelling and leaves unfurling in low harp notes.
Of course, the birds are in full chorus now—robins, wrens, and the newly arrived red-wing blackbirds. Most of the birds sing in flute, violin, and dulcimer notes, but the red-wing blackbird carries in his throat the sound of bubbling water.
In the past few days, the east wind roaring through my yard with shrieks and moans has changed her tune just a bit. With spring moving a little closer each day to take over as the new orchestra conductor, the winds are turning to breezes and the windsongs are becoming lullabies and thoughtful hymns.
My pond sings in water music. And I’ve never heard sad water music in all my life. Water music is always the sound of joy, of dancing, and—when it moves slowly—of prayer. I did my annual pond cleanup last week, creating a larger water cascade that burbles happily. In winter, the pond was mute but for the quiet patter of rain on the surface. During my cleaning, I was happy to discover that three of the four bullfrog tadpoles from last autumn are thriving. The one who sprouted small legs last fall now has ballet legs, with lovely webbed flippers. He’s looking like he’ll be starting on arms very soon. When I imagine the songs of bullfrogs, I imagine tuba music or bass cellos. If the gods are kind to me this year, at least one of my tadpoles will be singing frog music before the end of summer. Also to come, hopefully this spring, will be the symphony of bees. I have their new hive all ready to go, and I am hungering for their songs.
I walked in my yard last night after putting out food for the raccoon tribe. The moon is so big right now, and even though the stars are muted by the street lights, I swear I can feel the pull of the planets on my blood tides. Walking on drenched grass, I wondered about all the vibrational music animals hear that I am not privy to. I like to believe we humans could once hear so much, much more. I imagine that the animals and plants and stones and clouds and rivers and comets all sing to each other, and heal each other in this musical way. For me, these symphonies must find their way to me in dreams, for now.
May the music of spring find its way into your very bones. May it rest there, and sweeten you from the inside out. May its green music heal you of all your winter heartaches. May its flower music color your days with joy. May you walk with spring in your step.
What a beautiful post and photos. Please post many photos of the garden as spring progresses!
Will do, Nancy! It is quite bare now, but just on the verge of exploding, as things tend to do in the spring…
Oh, this is exquisite, Susan! Water and music are two powerful forces in my life. Hearing you speak of “water music” made my heart very happy! Thank you for inviting us into your garden.
Yes, Chris: It puts a different spin on every single thing when we start to think of it in terms of music, doesn’t it?
What a beautiful post….poetry. As you say, it must be quite an adjustment for you to live in town but you have a way to find the extraordinary in simple little things and it’s admirable. Your small backyard has become your field, your forest, your garden. Your pond has become your own vernal pool.
Here in Nova Scotia it’s still winter, we just had a huge storm with powerful winds. Can’t wait myself to hear the peeper frogs….I could hear them every night of my life, best sleeping pill.
p.s.: I love the pictures you posted and looking at your pond carefully, it looks like a magical little spot, looking at it attentively it felt to me I would see a fairy appear…lovely.
Marie-Louise, I, too, sometimes think I can see the fairy beings around our little tub-pond. Water, especially musical water, is pure enchantment. I plan, soon, to visit a few marshy areas I know about to see what plants I can bring back and put in the pond for the pollywogs. I’ve put moss in on the surface of some areas so that all the pollinating insects will have a safe place to land and to drink. I plan to sit by that pond a lot this summer!