Monday, May 11, 2009

Frog Joy

Frog Joy

Now that it's May, we are safe.

Each year New England winter seems to last into spring, insulting the calendar and our need to get rid of the gloom. It's impossible for me to predict when to celebrate Frog Joy Day. Every once in awhile it will appear in mid-March. Usually, it's sometime in April.

Some years, due to quirky meteorological manifestations that would make a weather prognosticator weep, a late snow in what should be spring, postpones the party.
The wood frogs have come to the swamp to mate and in their quacking frenzy, they sound like mini mallards in a terrible, wonderful sex crazed heat. Stand there and smile because it’s really, really spring now. In fact, if you are out for a drive in the rural night, pull the car over and listen to the peepers. They are tiny, but the song is spectacularly huge.

Don't say anything. Close your eyes and picture what all is going on out there.

Studies show there is indeed a syndrome called S.A.D. An acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder, people who suffer depression during the winter months need special lamps and warmth to shake off long weeks of depression.

I feel as though I can introduce myself as brand new in spring because the winter me is beastly and because even I wouldn’t want to know me then—crabbing about the grayness and whether the plow guy will show up on time. No one wants to hear me uselessly prattling about how January second through April Fool’s Day should be recalculated out of existence even though we all know there is a perverse correctness to that time chunk being there. I just don’t want to be anywhere in it, unless of course I could be in Brisbane or Sydney.

Living ten years in the American South helped. Camellias can skip past Thanksgiving. Lenten roses (Hellebore) appear in late January. Did you know that some trees start blossoming in February? It makes a girl giddy.

But, on the day in New England, when the frogs begin their roiling in the swamp, I laugh purely with no snide irony, no snickering cynicism or gloomy snort. Spring finally showed its candy-assed face and I can be me once more: the one who is profoundly hopeful, even though they still won’t give us a raise; the one who feels like cavorting, skipping a few steps in the back yard, even though the pasta and devil dog indulgences show more each year; the one who runs out immediately and buys charcoal, even though it might be two months before we can start to cook supper outside
Take a minute to think about the moments and ceremonies you use to mark the passage of time, and the seasonal things that create personal glee.

No matter what, I am more me than I’ve been in months, on the day the frogs start fornicating.

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