Once the snow melts in the forest, we return to search for the secret vernal pond. We’re not certain of its appearance, but we travel quickly, snapping sticks and maneuvering around the thorny vines. Last time we checked, nothing but frozen peaks of muddy wetland, hidden by ice and snow, greeted us.
The woods feel enchanted as we balance atop fallen trees and sink into moss. It smells earthy and warm as we shuffle through leaves.
Then, we see it. We don’t know how or when, but it’s here now. We hear the calls of nesting ducks and the sharp cries of various species of frogs.
|Vernal Pond, April|
We peer deeply into the water to see all the eggs. Giant masses of salamander and frog eggs fill the pond, protected by enormous jelly-like pouches.
My youngest cannot wait to return. Day by day, the eggs change. They hatch, and life grows up, just in time for the pond to evaporate back into the forest.
I can’t explain so many things to her. I don’t know how the pond knows when to emerge. I don’t know how generations and generations of frogs and salamanders know to come right back here to lay eggs.
It’s at least one magical thing in our lives this Spring; the wonderful, unexplained, beautiful vernal pond reminds me that we’re made for wonder. We’re made to marvel.
I love the forest in springtime! I love the mystery of the vernal pond!