After dinner that evening we had walked across the damp fields toward the clear plaintive birdlike peeping until the myriad voices almost shouted at us from the dark pool and then fell silent. To easterners this nostalgic sound more than than any other--more than that of any bird--is the true voice of spring. It is a voice of resurrection: "Spring is come!" Everyone knows the voice and is glad, but few have ever seen the tiny inch-long singer. Tonight, with the peepers, there were multitudes of cricket frogs rasping out their strident notes, and here and there a green frog gave its single croak, like the plucking of a loose string on some instrument....
These sounds that pipe and trill from a hundred throats on evenings in spring are love songs of the swamp. They are ancient music, for the frogs sang their songs ages before the birds did; they were here first.... This orchestration of frogs and toads is one of the outstanding things about spring nights in eastern North America.
Once last summer, a friend came over and we went out on the marsh at dusk with flashlights to look for peepers. We saw a beautiful brown one, his throat blown up with each peep, his tiny body dwarfed by both his huge bubble of a throat and the loudness of his call.
Some people in PA are already hearing peepers, even though the ground is still covered in snow. I haven't heard any calls yet, nor have I seen any red-winged blackbirds, the other harbinger of spring on the marsh--though others in Central PA have seen some. I guess Penns Valley is a little behind the rest of the area, under its thin blanket of snow. But this passage, and the thought of the coming warmth and beauty and new life, makes me happy.