Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Tadpole tales

The town in which I grew up had a huge ditch running through it, virtually a creek, through which rainwater "ran off" into Caney Creek. We kids tied little aquarium fish nets onto the edge of broom poles, and tried to catch mosquito fish in the nets from the ditch. It's quite an art form, trying to catch a tiny livebearing fish from six feet away, in a net roughly six inches square. We virtually never succeeded in catching a fish, which makes me feel relatively glad in hindsight that that was how we went about it.

Each late Spring tadpoles appeared in that ditch, and continue to appear until Summer was over. You'd see their heads float up like thick hardware store nails, only much darker, before they'd submerge with a wiggling motion. Sometimes a tadpole would rest its "tail" section on the shore, so that you'd see a huge amphibian tail just jutting out of the water. It slithered quickly into the ditch if you came too close. Although many tadpoles stayed small, some got huge--no doubt the bullfrog tadpoles growing big.

We could find a world of things to do in a drainage ditch that could not have been six feet across. I can still remember the sounds of numerous different kinds of frogs bellowing at night. I can still remember how small bats would
fly overhead on cool June evenings. I try to learn again to focus on the very small and fascinating things the way I did when I was ten.

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