Feeling ‘One With Nature’ In Cross Creek Update

bullfrogFrog Blog Update:  Listen to the latest frog sounds from a swamp after the heavy rain on St. Patrick’s Day:


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DSC_0012 “My frog blog”…  So I start this blog paragraph by saying first, that it’s not easy for me to step out of my comfort zone to talk about myself.  For four decades as a journalist I have always tried to keep the  word “I” out of my stories.  I (smile here) was trained to write in “third person objective.”  So when the popularity of blogging took off, it wasn’t something I jumped into.  Since retirement I have decided to share a few personal thoughts from time to time…but they won’t be editorial thoughts on politics….  just observations or experiences I want to share.  So here I go (again, feels funny to say “I”)

DSC_0008Since I don’t have to punch a time clock in a newsroom now, I had the luxury this week of hopping in my car at 3:00 a.m. with tape recorder in hand to capture the sounds of the LOUD chorus of frogs down the road who obviously knew it was about to rain.  I must say, I don’t know much about the mating rituals of frogs but maybe that’s partially what the frog symphony was really all about.  Here’s a short excerpt of what it sounded like this week:

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 I always feel it’s special to hear that kind of frog chorus around the lakes here.  It doesn’t happen every night around Cross Creek.  I have plenty of recordings of the sounds the little peepers and tree frogs make that can lull you to sleep.  No…this was a cacaphony of frogs on every pond, in every ditch and all around Orange and Lochloosa Lakes.

DSC_0015I love the sounds the frogs make when communicating this way.  What sets it apart from the usual nights of frogs chirping is that the sound seems to start from one side of the lake or pond and then continues to the opposite direction and then back again as if there is a special message being passed from frogs on either side of the lake or pond.  I still don’t know what that message is and have had plenty of people laugh at me when I try to imitate what it sounds like.  Oh well.  I enjoy it and that’s all that matters to me.  Here’s a version (longer) of another frog chorus on Orange Lake a few years ago on New Year’s Eve before a big rain:

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DSC_0016And here is another favorite recording of frogs croaking before a thunderstorm:

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Though this isn’t the “actual” gopher tortoise I saw that day, it looked just like this one my daughter is holding from an earlier tortoise encounter

The next morning after capturing the frog chorus at 3 a.m. this past week I had to head to “town” to go to an appointment.  That’s when my next “nature encounter” appeared.  As most “Creek folks” do, when I spotted a large gopher tortoise in my lane on the highway I pulled my car off to the side of the road to go and move it.  She was one of the largest tortoises I’d seen in a while.  I’m assuming it was a female wanting to lay eggs somewhere across the road.   Apparently they always remember their favorite spots to lay their eggs because they don’t seem to care that they have to cross busy county highways to get there.  I picked her up and jumped across the ditch and put her under the fence line and returned to my car.  As I pulled away I hoped I wouldn’t see her splattered on the road when I returned home…assuming I was right about her desire to travel across the highway just to lay eggs.  Heck, it might not be egg-laying season and the tortoise may have simply wanted to just see what was on the other side of the road…kind of like the “why did the chicken cross the road” question.  Nonetheless, I felt my 24 hour nature experience with frogs and the tortoise reminded me of just why I love Cross Creek.

 

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