Seasons and Cycles

The call came on a Thursday morning two weeks ago. "The herring are running!" My dad went on to explain how he had watched hundreds of the fish rushing upstream to mate and then rescued one from a hungry gull. This is an annual event in the town where I grew up. My family made plans to go see them.

Wednesday, I got an excited voice mail message, this time from my friend Alison. "I was just driving back from school...there's this body of water. I don't know what it is. I never even really paid attention to it before. (Gives me directions to it).Through my closed window I heard that crazy, bird-chirping kind of sound that reminded me of frogs mating. I don't know what it was but I just felt like I had to tell you I heard some nature!"

I know exactly which body of water she's talking about. It's really a glorified puddle (The perfect kind in which to find cool stuff!) BUT... that is the place where I hear the peepers first every year. It's surrounded by fields, so it's warmed by lots of sun, which is probably why the frogs appear there first.

The funny thing is, when people know you're connected to the seasons and nature's cycles, they tend to pay more attention themselves and then call you when they notice seasonal changes. My whole life, my mom has been very tuned into the cyles of  flowers. She knows exactly when the first snowdrops and then crocuses appear.  As a farmer, my dad has always been tuned into animal cycles, hence the call about the herring. My sisters and I always waited to hear that wonderful peeping sound each spring and would set out frog hunting the very next day. To me, peepers equal spring.

This latest call from Alison is new in my life, however. Now that we've been going on wood frog adventures together with our kids, she's tuned into the mating cycles of frogs. She knew the sound she heard wasn't wood frogs but recognized that other frogs were "busy." I'd venture to say that Alison will forever be aware of when the frogs appear each spring.

I share our seasonal adventures here, hoping to inspire you to pay closer attention to where you live and to go on your own adventures. Of course, not everyone can experience wood frog or herring migrations. The exact experience is not my point. The paying attention is. What seasonal events are unique to your area? Desert dwellers might celebrate the coming of rain after a long drought and rush out to see the explosion of flowers that follows rain. Most people can watch bird migrations. Some of us live in a place where birds live for part of the year and can watch their arrival and return. Others live on a migration route and can observe birds on their way to somewhere else. Those in temperate zones can watch trees grow and change with the seasons.

Saunter around your own neighborhood with your kids or students. What changes do you notice? Leave  a comment to let us know what you find. You know I love those kinds of messages!