All night we’ve had thunder, lightning, rain, and hail. Hours later my back deck is still hail. In the creek and field behind my home the frogs are singing with loud clear voices, calling for romance. Pick me! Pick me! Oh let me prove that I am the amphibian of your dreams. Thousands of little frogs, so small that one could be comfortable sitting on a quarter, are belting out love songs as fierce as any Rock-n-Roll idol.
I love the frog music. I love the sound of the rain. I love the thunder and lightning.
In a land where drought is more of normal state of things, a week of storms is a wonderful and magical thing.
Frogs never worry about expressing their love. They aren’t shy like their human neighbors.
My husband sings in the shower. A happy feeling of love always fills my heart when I hear him doing that. He doesn’t know it. And we might be a bit cold blooded sometimes but we’re no frogs.
In 1868 my two older brothers (Max and Andy) were more or less out of the house. That left twelve year old Aaron, nine year old Val, and seven year old me.
We’d read the story of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mr. Mark Twain, and we’d decided to have our own frog jumping contest.
At the time the city of Sacramento was being torn up in order to raise the streets to protect us from future floods. The railroad was also tearing things up. We didn’t care. In the middle of the night we left our home in search of large frogs. I wore some of Val’s old pants so I wouldn’t have to bother with getting a skirt caught on anything.
Through the mud and dirt three vampire children headed towards the river as the sun set over the distant hills. We could see the light of boats as we took a dirt path down to the water. The passengers waved back at us as we jumped and shouted to get their attention.
Val found some pennies on the beach. I picked up a few clam shells and put them in my pocket. Aaron had forgotten about the frogs and was loudly reciting the battle speech from Richard III (yes, the one from William Shakespeare) as he stood on the edge of the water looking into the sky.
Then we heard the sound of applause and looked up to see a group of men at the top of the embankment cheering on Aaron.
My brother continued his grand speech after which he bowed, and the three of us ran off laughing into the night.
On the way home we looked into windows of businesses and homes, laughing the whole way. We saw cooks, and lovers, gamblers and quiet readers.
When our parents arrived home they found us clean and playing cards. We gave them angelic smiles.
Our mother smiled at us, showing a little bit of her lovely Vampire fangs. “Did you hear the frogs tonight?”
“Yes,” I said, “and tomorrow we’re going to catch our own frogs and have a race.”
“We’ll see about that,” said my mother with wink.
The three of us never did have a frog race, or a frog jumping contest, but we did catch plenty of frogs after that night.
A few years ago I took my own children out to the vernal pool near our house where the seasonal rains create a froggy paradise. It is a regular version of Frog Bachelorette. Or at least it amuses me to think so.
So once again the sun will come through the clouds, and the sounds of birds will replace that of frogs, and maybe even with our feathered friends love will also be in the air.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman