Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bump on a Blog

"How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring blog!"

(with apologies to Emily Dickinson)

Right. So here's the first blog post. OK. Here we go. (?) (Psst, what do I do now?) (Not sure. Just write something.) (What?) (Dunno.)

Well, since the first animal of many to be mentioned in this blog happens to be a frog, we'll just continue the frog theme and link it to something that's just as fine as frogs, namely, a book. Specifically, the book I'm reading right now, which is Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher.

This book was the inspiration for Scott Weidensaul's book Return to Wild America, in which he retraces the steps taken by Peterson and Fisher as they spent 100 days trekking 30,000 miles around North America, beginning in Newfoundland, looping through the United States and Mexico, and ending in Alaska's Pribilof Islands. My father gave me this book on Christmas 2005, and immediately I was seized with the desire to track down a nice copy of Wild America so as to read that first.

And as luck would have it, I found an original copy, first edition, for next to nothing at a local thrift store. Dustjacket and all.

The two travelers are just now wending their way through the mid-Atlantic states, and Fisher, who is from England, is listening in amazement to the spring peepers and other frogs, not quite believing Peterson when he tells them that "these sounds that pipe and trill from a hundred throats on evenings in spring are love songs of the swamp" made by frogs as they "bleat, trill, peep, click, quack, or croak."

No frogs calling in my city neighborhood, but spring is slowly nudging the garden back to life, and birds are flinging their energies into song; there's a scrappy Bewick's wren who alternates between warbling beautifully and letting loose with grating, angry buzzes; a few robins advising one and all to "cheer-up, cheerily," and a starling who sits on the roof beam pouring out notes while whirling his wings like a feathered wind-up toy. Saw a bushtit flit by with a beakful of fur for its hidden nest. Black-capped chickadees whirl from one birch tree to another, and the crows sit in judgment on the powerlines out front.

The vegetable starts are all in and have benefitted from several days of chilly rain interspersed with "sun breaks"--a weather term I never heard til I moved to the Pacific Northwest. There's one coming now--time to get outside.