While attending the University of Texas in Austin I came to know Joe Gervers. He had made his own pipe organ from discarded pipes he and three friends had taken from the accumulated pipes they had and created a “Frankenstein” that they thought sounded surprisingly good. I went with him one day to the music building on campus and was amazed at his talent. I thought about him this evening just at dusk when the frogs began to tune up inside the posts around the swimming pool. The sound amplified and it seemed as if each post was resonating somehow from the frog effort. I looked all around for them and then looked inside the square beams only to be face to face with the tree frog within.
There were multiple frogs along deck and as it seemed, all waiting for me to leave them and their tree friends to the evening’s inevitable performance. That pipe organ memory caused me to reach out to Joe after all these years and he assumes that if we had 12 posts with a frog at each post, that would be 1 frog for each note of a chromatic scale — and, if each frog sang a different note of the scale, then it would be possible for them to "make music." I am sure it is music to them!
This experience came to remind me of the marvelous rendition of Maroon 5’s Memory by the multiple voices of children performed on Zoom I had seen recently and now like to begin each day listening to.
Having frogs near the pool is an annual event. It is theirs first and come mid-July the transition begins reversing the pool from the lake water it had become. We had watched the tadpoles numbering in the hundreds mature. We left items in the water for them to cling to and use for their entry to land and air. The remaining tadpoles were caught and put into the rainwater filled wheelbarrow along with the catch of frog eggs we found deposited on the pool every morning for the last 2 weeks. My garden isn’t the best this year. But the crop of critters coming out of this water homes has been banner.
It doesn’t take a tadpole long to become a frog, but it is magical to watch the metamorphosis of these pollywogs from being water beings to those who as adults breathe air as we do.
It is such a responsibility to monitor the water for new eggs, and the reward is the serenade in the evenings from the relatives.
The annual wheelbarrow incubator is getting the best use ever this year. But it is also an awesome year for milkweed. I have seen bumper stickers with the phrase: I brake for garage sales. Admittedly, I have been known to do that as well, but when on the tractor, I mow around milkweed all season. Here on the prairie, we have always had milkweed, but the rains have come at the right time this year and the varieties here have been productive. Milkweed is a must for monarch butterflies who feed on it as caterpillars and lay their eggs on them as butterflies and has a toxin which makes the caterpillar and the butterflies poisonous to predators!
Climate change puts many species on our planet at risk of extinction. The grassroots movement throughout the monarch’s route is demonstrating single efforts multiplied can help provide the needs of that particular species. We just need the rest of us to do a thing that will help some of these other friendless species so we won’t have only memories of them when they are gone in our lifetimes. And the memories bring back, memories bring back you
There's a time that I remember, when I did not know no pain
When I believed in forever, and everything would stay the same
Now my heart feel like December when somebody say your name
'Cause I can't reach out to call you, but I know I will one day, yeah
Plant those seeds and grow those flowers, think of those who have no voices and little future without those of us with the power here on this planet. Rescue those tadpoles, help that turtle cross the road. Believe they deserve a future, too.
Respectfully submitted ~ Rebecca Jim
Rebecca Jim is executive director of the LEAD Agency.