Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Appreciation (33) … Frogal fugue

Appreciation (33) … Frogal fugue
Torrey Orton
Feb.9, 2010

What four different frog families and three different crickets (?) sound like in celebration of the refilling of their water hole.

We've just had 100-150 mm of rain in the last three days in Melbourne…remnants of cyclone Anthony which dumped a small ocean on Queensland three weeks ago (that flood). Under the right conditions these things peter out over central Australia. Their warm, damp leftovers may get sucked down south by a weather system gliding out of the Indian Ocean 3000 ks. away from here. It's clearly visible on national weather maps, the one system sliding along the edge of the other. What doesn't show immediately is what the slider picks up – water!

And this was our first real walk in four weeks due to my recovery from a week incarcerated for acute pancreatitis*. As we started out a small rain shower kicked off and we stepped under some path bordering trees to get out the wet weathers. In the midst of covering up I felt a pinch on my ankle, looked down and spotted a bull ant having a nibble through my walking sock and a small troop of its colleagues wandering up my shoes to get in on the fun. Turned out we had setup the changeover to wets on an ant mound hidden under track gravel. Bitey, indeed!! No harm but the withdrawal took some doing. They stick as well as bite.

Towards the end of our ramble (slight incline over 1500 meters or so) we began to hear a somewhat mechanical noise ahead of us, guessing that the neighbouring quarry was being pumped out after the rain. Another 150 meters and the real sound became very clear to our left in an old fire fighting pond refilled by the rains. It was the frogal fugue…a low thunder of different frogs and crickets and who knows what celebrating the possibility of a late season mating melee. We are quite used to a small version in our garden, the remnant players of an original gene pool established there 25 years ago by a neighbour's child. But they all play the same come hither tune, in near perfect timing. And there's seldom more than 3-4 players.

This was something different – thundering almost, and so many notes played in different volumes and keys; an orchestra in olive drab variations. The attached file will give as good a rendition of the experience as a mobile's note facility can produce. Jack up the volume a bit til you feel slightly overwhelmed and you'll have the feel of it.

Enjoy…we did.

Nuts!!! - I've just discovered audio files cannot be uploaded to the blog!!! If you want one, email and I'll send it by return!!! Worth the effort for us both.

*A not-to-be-recommended event which left me 10kgs lighter (which could have taken months of training to achieve but only a week of nil-by-mouth in hospital). The standard recovery period is 3-6 weeks, of which I am now into the fifth week, restarting moderated work today (therapy) and developing new self-management regimes in eating (no coffee or alcohol, neither of which I miss at all; smaller meals, etc.) and morning relaxation and exercise practices with daily consistency, so far!

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