April 1, 2015

By T.W. Burger

It’s going to be all right, after all.

I heard peepers.

I mean spring peepers, if you’re from some dull place that doesn’t have them. Whatever the weather might be doing at the moment you hear them, it means that spring has actually arrived and is busy setting up housekeeping

It’s been a long, grueling winter. Many records for cold and snowfall were set on the eastern side of the U.S., giving those who don’t know the difference between weather and climate the chance to pop off like a bunch of spring peepers and say there is no such thing as climate change. They always ignore all the places in the world that are hotter and drier than ever before.

Sorry. I don’t know how that soapbox wound up right in my path.

Anyway, some ofus had begun to worry that winter would go on and on, perhaps rubbing right up against summer. The peepers took a collective deep breath and reassured us.

They are not much to look at; only an inch long or a little more. They hang out in gangs in boggy spots and what you hear is a lot of high-pitched calls. Imagine a thousand rusty porch swings squeaking in chorus but not necessarily in sync and you’ve about got it.

There are two subspecies, by the way, the northern and the southern. There aren’t a lot of differences, except the southern variety peeps with a distinct drawl.

I made that last part up.

By the way, the chorus is all sung by males. They stand around during mating season, each trying to make more noise than the next guy, in order to attract a mate. So, they are not so very different from humans. It’s a good thing Harley-Davidson doesn’t make a model for peepers.