Among the signs that spring on Cape Cod has truly arrived (and that the threat of rogue snowstorms has truly passed) is a distinctive sound one begins to hear on spring evenings when one passes by wetlands or bogs. It is that unmistakable, high-pitched soundings of tiny frogs….”peepers”.
On Martha’s Vineyard, peepers are commonly called “pinkletinks”; in New Brunswick, Canada, they are sometimes called “tinkletoes”, although not commonly known by that name, and usually referred to as simply “peepers”. On Nova Scotia’s South Shore, they are sometimes referred to as “pink-winks.” In the upper Chesapeake Bay area, they are commonly called “The Little Frogs from the Moon”.
Every year I relish the return of that distinctive sound. It is a reminder of rhythms that are oblivious to (but not immune from) the devisings of human beings.
A few days ago I enjoyed a wonderful conversation that touched on the nature of the sacred and the different ways in which we seek out transcendent moments. Among the “tools” we use, in addition to prayer, meditation and study, are experiences out-of-doors. This beautiful poem gives eloquent voice to that particular search:
The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
May God always bless the pinkletinks, whose nightly mating calls and animated conversations remind me of the raw and sacred beauty of our world!