Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Salamander Crossings

The Garden Club held its annual meeting and dinner at a lovely New England inn. At our table for 7, five of us talked about salamanders. One member, Karen Golden, is an official salamander crossing guard.

Perhaps you, like the 2 women at our table, are in the dark about salamanders. But now that the frost is out of ground, 3 types of salamanders and 2 types of frogs are just waiting for a rainy night that is above 41 degrees to shiver toward the orgy of a nearby vernal pool--springtime pockets of water in the woods that last for at least 6 weeks, which is long enough for salamander and frog eggs to hatch.

The trouble is, roads have been built between the salamanders' homes, where they live 51 weeks out of the year, and the lure of nearby pools of water where they re-union. These cold-blooded creatures are cold and logy, so they move very slowly across a road, where speeding cars don't even notice a black blob on blacktop, even if it does have bright yellow spots.

Crossing guards with flashlights help salamanders and frogs across the road like scouts assisting little old ladies. Nevertheless roads are often littered with smooshed soft amphibian bodies the next morning.

We are all of the nature to die, but some of us give Nature a helping hand to prolong the lives of certain 4-leggeds that are in the dark on a chilly spring night.

May all creatures be free from suffering. May all creatures--even salamanders and frogs--have ease of well-being.

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