Late in the afternoon I walk down into the fields. The sky is a blank, gray sheet of paper. The rains have largely subsided into drizzle and the air is cool but not chilly. Everything that can be a stream is a stream. Everything that can be a pond is a pond. In the flat distance I hear the toads chorusing. Acres of toads. As I near the sound moves away like a train into the distance. I stand motionless in my slicker-yellow. Gradually the train reverses and comes toward me. In the still water in front of me I see two eyes doing the breaststroke. The train comes closer. A thousand calls. A thousand responses.

The sound surrounds me. The croaks, chortles, trills. Like crickets on steroids. There are more eyes in the pond. One pair lawls in the center then puffs up and calls. Now all eyes and bladder. His call produces waves of sound and corresponding waves of water that cause the other eyes to bob up and down. Under the surface his little scuba diver legs are splayed out behind him.

Below me a small dark green toad hops awkwardly in the tall grass. Hop, hop, plop and she is in the water. Startled she climbs ashore. Not ready for the big time quite yet.

I stand and listen to this concert. Or rather I listen in. The toads swim naked and sing in the new water like drunks in a Jacuzzi. And then because it's getting dark and I'm not as young as they are, I slowly and carefully turn and leave like a doctor leaving the theater in the middle of the performance.

January 31, 2003

Copyright 2003, Marc Auerach