Rural Life The Granite State

Cookie, the crooner

She’s always loved frogs. Even a decade ago.

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But now that she’s “all grown up” (at 11), she is even more intrigued by them. She spots them in camouflaged niches, transports them around the yard (and, yes, around the house), doesn’t mind when they leave some wet traces of their fear on her palm, talks to them softly, and even—if they’re extra special—gives them a comfy home, serves them delicious crawling delicacies that she collects under rocks, and calls them by a name she has christened them with.

Given her years of amphibian expertise, I was surprised to hear that a sedate, little, bumpy guy went unnoticed by her trained eye for many minutes. He was squatted low and calmly resting, perched on the outdoor shower stall while she rinsed chlorine out of her locks from swimming. (The fact that she was brave enough to conquer the tepid water on an overcast New Hampshire day is a feat worthy of note.) Once she spotted him, she was mesmerized that her new friend was so content. He didn’t fret that a spider had spun a wisp of translucent silk across his brow.

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He didn’t mind Hayley’s camera lens circling around him, and he barely seemed to care when she cradled him in her hands. He definitely had a laid-back, rural New England attitude. The mid-atlantic frogs she was accustomed to were always hyper and flighty, especially if Bixby gave them a close canine inspection.

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But nothing phased this placid ectotherm.

So we learned our new friend is a gray tree frog. (Fellow New Hampshirites, try this site to learn more about critters in your yard: NH Fish and Game.) And he’s quite a crooner. I had noticed an unusual song around our property for days; how surprised I was to realize the chirpy melodies were not those of a bird. They were coming from a plump, sedate, lump-covered little guy now known as “Cookie.” (After, of course, our favorite Frog and Toad children’s story.)

I’m thankful to rediscover nature’s excitement and appreciate the beauty and sounds of our new home through my daughter’s perspective.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world.” -Rachel Carson

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  1. I had a gray tree frog makes its comfy spot on the cross member of my garden swing last year. Every evening, I would go out to swing and listen to him. I was hoping he would come back this year, but so far, nothing. Wonderful images and post.

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