Reub's journey

09 April 2011


At school yesterday I told a student "to pick up a peeper," which the child did not hear me say but whose attention I attracted anyway when I began to laugh hysterically at myself. It was the end of a long day, I was tired, and I had just said peeper instead of paper. Blank looks! I rattled on, "Peeper? Do you guys know what a peeper is? It's a frog! A Spring Peeper! OK, never mind, we don't have these in Oregon. But it is National Frog Month." Thus ensued a 5 minute conversation about frogs, quite off-topic, but rather educational. Mostly we just shared frog anecdotes.

George Albert Boulanger, "The Tailess Batrachians of Europe" 1897
National Frog Month coincides with the noisiest time of year for frogs, as they seek out mates by vocalizing loudly.  From our house at night we can hear their songs every evening; it goes on for several months, beginning in February with a single voice, rising to a din by May, and settling down to nothing by August.

Our next door neighbors, you see, have a beautiful little trickling stream that runs into a pond, and we are the lucky beneficiaries of the frog songs that rise up from their back yard.

The frogs make a huge racket, yet they are pretty much impossible to see. There are plenty of predators who would like to gobble them up, so I guess they have to be good at hiding. I really want to see them though, darn it; this photo needs a frog in it!

Yesterday after the 5 minutes or so of swapping frog tales,  there was a pause and a child wondered " did we get on this topic, anyway?" At first nobody could remember, but finally from the back of the room, a little girl piped up, pointing at me, "She said peeper, pick up your peeper..." Gales of laughter.


  1. Ah, a little humor and they will remember this lesson even more than the others.

  2. I bet they'd love it if you got off target more often. They'll probably remember these five minutes for ever while they will soon forget their 'proper' lessons.
    I know I did.

  3. Funny story about picking up a peeper. :) I do love the sound of peepers. [)

  4. My wife and I were at the drive-through Redwood tree, near Redwood National Forest and heard a huge frog chorus. So, off i went searching for the little blighters and even when it sounded as if one was less than 6 inches away, could i find it? Could i 'eck!! The taunting croaks as i trudged off were almost too much to bare!!!

    I'm sure they'll always remember the loony teacher and her random mutterings!!


  5. Hmmmm, I will have to go check in my little pond and see if the frogs are out yet. They are noisy in spring, but I like to hear them cause they remind me of spring!

  6. Tabor and Friko: my students lift their heads in joy when I go off topic. But the subject is art, and doesn't that really encompass just about everything? This means I can never ever really go astray, in my opinion. Someday I will probably write about this.

    EG Wow: The very word "peeper" still cracks me up. Honestly, what a dumb, funny word. You can't say it and not laugh.

    Saul:By god, one of these days I will see one of these little fellows. The neighbors have gone to Morocco and I can sit in their yard all I want, staring at their pond. But it has been so cold that the frogs have slowed down a bit.

    When you write I can actually hear you talk: what a gift.

    Rebecca: One of your very very best photos is of a frog; I don't know how you achieved that, but I am in awe.


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