Sigh............this is typical early spring and the month of March in Michigan. Lots of gray skies, mud, ice, standing water, with maybe a tease of a day or two here and there of sun and warmth, not summer-like warmth, but high enough to no longer feel the need to wear gloves outside, wool socks and heavy boots, and/or a scarf inside!
When those teasing warmer days occur, as they did during a few days last week, the early spring frogs wake up and begin their mating calls with vigorous (and perhaps even passionate!) enthusiasm in the wet areas on our farm. First came the spring peepers (listen to their call here) beginning at the end of last week and then Monday I heard the chorus frogs (listen to their call here).
|(Photo: Spring Peeper - photo from The University of Michigan)|
|(Photo: Chorus frog - photo from The University of Michigan)|
Hearing this annual event was music to my ears then and continues to be today. After moving to Ann Arbor, I have deeply missed having that ritual each March right out my back door so-to-speak, an event to look forward to, knowing I could just throw open my bedroom windows to be a part of that first warm night, and be as close as I could be to those frogs without being a muskrat in the pond (an image I have grown to love after first reading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold at least 35 years ago).
When we first saw this farm property two years ago now, it was probably about this time in March. The frogs were singing loudly everywhere as we walked the property. We knew the house was going to be a lot of work (arghhh......how we underestimated the time it would take to do all the work!), and we knew we could bring the former farm land (fallow for at least 25 years) back to life (we expect to be doing that for years and years). However, to be honest, after looking at and rejecting multiple other pieces of property, I think it was the frog chorus that went right to my heart and I was 'sold' on this property (in spite of the condition of the house, lack of outbuildings, etc, etc).
Each cancer survivor counts a 'year' of survivorship differently. For some it is the day of a biopsy, the day of hearing the diagnosis, the day of surgery, the day that treatment ended, you get the idea. I actually have several ways I count and celebrate another year of cancer survivorship, and perhaps that is because i have multiple diagnoses. I do count Thanksgiving Day as one of my annual celebratory 'rites of passage' but I also count several signs of spring as necessary to my sense of contentedness, completeness, and well-being.
Spring is the season of renewal and what better way to honor and celebrate another year of surviving the dark days of winter and also those dark days of cancer than some sign of spring that is meaningful. I am at peace with my little corner of the universe, with my frogs finding their mates and producing zillions of wiggling tadpoles (enough to make our vernal ponds look like moving water later in spring!)
In addition, I have finally moved ALL of my cookbooks to the farm, they are on their shelves in the kitchen (back to boards and bricks, just like grad school days), and I cannot wait to move our kitchen to the farm and start cooking again. This is the very first time I have ever had all my cookbooks in one place, in full view (not stuffed here and there, wherever I could find room), and somewhat organized. I'll take a photo to post up later the next time I remember to take my camera to the farm.
Yes, spring is finally on its way here in the upper Midwest, in spite of this return to winter interlude, and I look forward to the second round of the spring frog chorus when the weather warms up again. Another year of cancer survivorship has begun!
"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"
Diana Dyer, MS, RD