We have a “vernal pool” back behind our house in the woods.  It’s actually a big mud puddle caused by ATVs that roar through our property on what used to be a gas pipeline, spoiling the path for anyone who would like to walk through.

The frogs and toads don’t know it’s a motorized disaster-in-the-making, and they enliven our lives by using it as a place to lay eggs and grow their babies.

The last few years, we’ve had the privilege of having rather different critters in the pool:  wood frogs.  Instead of the usual “peep-peep” of the spring peepers, we hear a loud “clack-clack”-even in the daytime.  The first year we heard these, we were completely mystified over what sounded like a large gathering of turkeys in the woods.  They are supposed to be common, but I don’t hear them elsewhere.

They’re extremely shy and it’s almost impossible to catch a glimpse of them.  Before we can even sneak close to the pool, they become silent and invisible.

Today it is cool, so I crept out there, hoping they wouldn’t all be sleeping at the bottom of the pool, waiting for the sun.  But they are.  It’s simply a puddle of mud and leaves, quiet and undisturbed.  Lifeless.

But I know.