Appropriate social distancing with a bunch of inappropriate frogs

We tried to socially distance ourselves Sunday afternoon at the Navarino State Wildlife Area, but we ran into a loud bunch of amorous Anura amphibians — frogs for those who aren’t making a pretentious, alliterative jump.

We heard them before we saw them and I found myself thoroughly charmed, until our resident biologist pointed out what they were actually doing.

“You’re going to want to blur some of those pictures,” she said dryly, and I looked again.

Leaping libido! Spring is in the air.

Frolicking frogs aside, we spent a spectacular Palm Sunday afternoon hiking, breathing good fresh air and finding comfort in nature’s obvious resiliency. We gave the scant handful of people we saw wide berth as we made our way through peaceful trails teaming with life. Sandhill cranes (the lazy ones who weren’t out gathering food), geese and camera-shy, beautiful tundra geese joined a chorus that underscored our stroll.

Last July, a line of ferocious tornados uprooted trees all over Northeastern Wisconsin and sent them sprawling in a painful, undignified manner. Our hearts lurched a little when we saw the destruction.

But, then spring came to Wisconsin and with it, optimism. Every felled tree offers multiple opportunities for life. Seedlings sprout from roots or stumps and grow quickly in the sunlight that streams through broken canopies. Downed trees also offer habitat and enrich the soil.

We live on an incredible planet and, in many ways, we are the most adaptable species here.

We will get through this global challenge and, like the oak tree, the last to fall, we will rise stronger and, hopefully, more empathetic.

Stay home.

Stay wise.

Wash your hands.

Breathe.

And, like the Navarino frogs, have a little fun.

We’ll get through this.

Ribbit.

Molly and Vince practiced good social distancing crossing a bern over the marsh at the Navarino State Wildlife Area,
The tornado-inspired tree destruction that looked so devastating this winter has already taken on new life.
I love the image of the lone, tall tree.
A Palm Sunday view of pussy willows.
They’re very camera shy and I didn’t have my long lens, but if you look closely you can see the two nesting tundra swans in the upper right hand corner of this picture and a bunch of geese in the foreground.
Birch trees are often the first to fall, and the first to rise after a catastrophic event like a forest fire or tornado. They grow in clumps from their parent tree and break up the soil for the rest of the trees in the forest. (Botany was one of Molly’s hardest and increasingly most valuable college classes).
If you go to Navarino, empty your bladders and fill your bellies and gas tanks before you head out. The trails are open but the bathrooms are closed and you probably don’t want to make any stops in between your house and that beautiful park until we get this virus under control in Wisconsin.
Avert your eyes! But listen to how loud spring sounds at Navarino!

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