Home > Art, Entertainment, Good Stuff, Life, Weather > Open Window Season and The Lonely Bullfrog

Open Window Season and The Lonely Bullfrog

So, you didn’t think we had seasons here in Florida? Bah! Of course we do!

We have “Hot” season and “Not Hot” season (I don’t dare call it Cold for fear of being laughed at) and sometimes we get really lucky and have something wonderful in between. I call it “Open Window Season”, that brief period when the breezes blow cool enough to trigger neither the heat nor the air conditioning.

At night during Open Window season, I lie awake and listen to the sounds of the pond out in back. All manner of creatures are waking up from their hibernation, rehearsing their little songs in preparation for the full-on Hot Season cacophony that can rouse the comatose even through closed windows. I swear there is a conductor out there who starts and stops the chorus as he pleases and only seems to want to perfom “O Fortuna” from Orff’s “Carmina Burana”.

The sounds during Open Window season are shy, as if no one dares be the first to sing a wrong note. They sound croaky and rusty and the prima donna peepers don’t seem to have shown up yet; something is distinctly missing in the treble register. Still, the altos and tenors manage a silly warm-up full of self-conscious giggling.

But there is one big frog out there, a basso profundo whose voice is so deep and robust that everyone else stops singing when he starts. I imagine their little froggy faces, mouths agape, looking at each other with wide eyes whispering “Who’s THAT?” It makes me think of those times in our little New England church when my vocally gifted mezzo-soprano sister would show up and put the rest of us to such shame that we hid our faces behind our hymnals. We didn’t dare let her hear our croaking.

I listen to that bullfrog out there, belting out his deep brassy tones, and I feel a little sorry for him. Perhaps he was a boy soprano last year and he is simply trying to join in the joyful noises of his old friends. The size of his voice is like the adolescent boy who grew 5 sizes bigger than his friends over the summer and doesn’t know how to adjust his changed voice to match theirs. He feels like a big buffoon. Maybe to hide his righteous shame, he has become a “bully-frog” and uses his voice to drown out the others on purpose.

He sounds so lonely…

But slowly, one after another, the tiny frogs begin to sing again, beeping and squawking and nyuk-nyuk-nyuking until the big bullfrog is invited back into their chorus, his voice again blending into their song and bringing a depth they hadn’t imagined from him before.

I love Open Window rehearsal season. It allows me to get to know the singers and familiarize myself with their repertoire so that I can appreciate their crazy concerts that keep me awake during the hot summer nights.

  1. March 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Well, you know I’d love this! We listened to a short clip of “Carmina Burana” cuz we’re not too clued in there….and once the background knowledge was in place, we both finished reading your blog. Oh, how envious I am that you have a real, live pond nearby. How delightful that you get to listen to those hodge-podge of voices from the little creatures of the night! I was, for a moment, lying there listening, with you. Thanks for sharing! I wanted to run up and kiss that big, bad-ass bullfrog. 🙂

    Here’s lookin’ forward to those hot, frog-filled, cricket chirping, summer nights!

  2. March 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Laurie. I linked to Carmina Burana for those not “in the know”. It really does sound like that out there!

  3. Tina
    March 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Although I find myself so grateful to live where we do…the people, the weather, the people, the weather…I’m also so grateful to find our own slice of heaven outside our back sliders. I’m sitting here feeling blessed that you know how to put into words the way I feel. Thanks lovely neighbor and thanks to the wonderful sounds that fill our world! Peace to you…

  4. Sandra A Ogilvie
    March 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    O’Fortuna is one of my favorites and speaking from experience with the open farm land behind my condo, we have lots of creatures out there singing in harmony all day and night. Good stuff Ellen.

  5. Helen Streett
    April 10, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Love this, Ellen! Your frogs sound so delightful! My favorite time of year is spring, and to me, the first real sign of spring is the peepers—one of my favorite sounds of all time! I remember biking past small ponds and wetlands when the peepers are so loud in unison that it’s like a fierce SCREAM–like “WAAAA-HOOOOOO! It’s Spring! I’m alive! I’m alive!!”

  6. Pat L
    May 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Ellen This was a great story about open window season. I jumped to your website from Judy’s facebook. We hope you are doing well. Pat and B

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