The frogs are back.
For weeks before they returned, Waylon would pull at me as we passed by the pond and say, “froggies sleepin’?”
“Yep, the froggies are sleeping under the mud,” I’d say, and continue the walk to the greenhouse.
They broke their sleep last Wednesday night; as I turned the lights off and walked upstairs, their croaking bubbled its way through the walls and into our bedroom. It took me a few moments to make out what it was as I stood still by the window, stretching my ears to their call. For the first time since we moved into the house, I missed the thin walls of the yurt, how they let all the sounds in.
We are close enough to the pond, though, closer than we were in the yurt, and so even now as I write these words on Sunday morning, windows closed, I hear them: their popping percussion aided by the swinging notes of chickadees and the tinny flitting whistles of robins.
We counted 33 yesterday, legs all splayed out as they floated on the pond’s surface. Waylon’s counting is sequential up to 10, and then erratic after that, going 15, 18, 16, 17, 19, and so on, all the way up to 20-10. He corrects me when I say 30.
I wonder how much he remembers of falling asleep and waking to the springtime concert when we lived in the yurt. Yesterday Edge asked Waylon if he remembered where he was born. He replied, in mama’s belly.
“But do you remember where you came out of mama’s belly?” my husband asked, and then answered our son’s stare, “right over there; in the yurt.”
It’s only recently that Waylon has started saying, “member when…” and part of me smiles at his development, and part of me wonders what language is worth when so much of it is spent on the past.
What use does a toddler have for memories? What use do any of us have? Sure, there are the necessary elements of learning so we may know how to feed and clothe and shelter ourselves. The necessary learning to stay alive.
But the frogs are awake now, and there’s no use in dawdling over last week, when we’d stop and talk about their muddy sleep. The frogs are awake, and Waylon is counting, and there are stones to throw into the pond, and there is mud to play in.
What use are memories when all of this is at hand? When the sun is warming the water and maple buds are flowering and there is a whole, waking world to be present in.