Turn off the screens—the television, the computer, the video games. Take time from work, from chores, from the day-to-day tasks that keep us busy. Adults and children, take it outside. Every couple of weeks I will challenge you to see and hear new things—to hunt the woods for wildflowers, to find shapes in nature, to sit by the waterside and listen for unique sounds. So much to experience out in the world!
Vernal Ponds are the great meeting places of spring. These ponds are temporary bodies of water that are created by melting snow and spring rain. Often these pools are surrounded by woods. In the shade of trees, the ponds retain their water longer. Dead leaves from the surrounding trees provide thick, rich pond bottoms that serve as food and shelter for pond dwellers. But by mid to late summer, most vernal ponds are just dry depressions in the landscape—the water, the animals, and the activity just a memory until the next spring. This disappearing act is unique and integral to vernal ponds. Because they are dry during part of the year, vernal ponds do not have fish. This makes them safe places for tadpoles, insects, salamanders and crustaceans to breed and mature.
Take some time this spring to visit a vernal pond and look for signs of life: eggs, tadpoles, fairy shrimp. Wonder and talk about the life-creating activities taking place within the water and its shore. Behold the practical and magical design of nature.