Emmy, Forest Hills Connection’s chief canine correspondent, has had great difficulty appreciating the sounds of spring.
by Emmy Elfin
It was a perfect night for sleeping with windows open after a cold spell. My companion and I had curled up to enjoy the warm breeze when a disturbing sound overwhelmed the quiet. It was at first just a mesmerizing, hypnotic noise, almost comforting, but it soon turned into an intrusive, sleep-defying tone.
Perhaps closing the window would help, but we could still hear the monotonous refrain, reminiscent of a composer my companion says is Philip Glass, an acquired taste. She has grown to appreciate Mr. Glass over time, but this outdoor high frequency hum did not meet her musical standards. There we were, marooned in the bedroom, sleepless on 30th Street for who knew how many nights.
Recounting this story to an esteemed neighbor did not make me feel better for she claimed that the sounds produced by frogs were soothing and induced sleep. Forest Hills was home to many species of frogs and this was a cause of pride.
We located the singing frog, camouflaged in the moldy leaves and water atop the pool cover. He was not cute. In fact he was rather gruesome looking – sickly pink and beige. I soon learned it was mating season and he would sing incessantly for a number of weeks.
Soon it was Passover and the Seder service took place during which my family recites the many plagues visited on the Israelites. The second plague is frogs. This had special meaning as the male frog continued his chanting outside the dining room where we sat and recited the ancient story of the Exodus. It seemed fitting this year to go outside to hear the melancholy song of the frog up close. It may have been a spiritual experience, but then again, not.
A few evenings later, we had new arrivals who had checked in during the day to swim and relax. They returned at dusk – a pair of ducks, the male with brilliant green feathers, the female, drab. They contentedly swam circles on the dirty water as though they were at the Beverly Hills Hilton. After a few days of these unwanted guests, I barked ferociously, compelling their hurried departure.
When houseguests arrived for some sightseeing, the father, a professor of ecology, announced the amorous creature was a toad, not a frog, and that there were hundreds of tadpoles and chains of eggs on the pool cover. He played the mating calls on his phone to corroborate his assessment of the situation. Whatever the species, the fact was we had been hosting an unwanted celebration in the garden. Had there been teenagers playing loud music late at night, my best friend would have called the police.