A Puddle of Goo

To the average eye, it looks like nothing more than a mosquito factory. Slimy, green, shallow, and sometimes accompanied by the scent of mud, these springtime places are sadly misunderstood.

Where low-lying stream borders have been left in their natural state (tree covered, ungroomed, uneven, and wild) water from the spring thaw and heavy rains collects in large puddles. These are called vernal pools.

Vernal Pool

Suburbanites tend to despise such areas, and in their defense, to the untrained eye, standing near one makes you jump to the conclusion that nothing good could come from it. Trees look as if they’re drowning. Rotting leaves resemble disease. And we’ve all been warned about the mosquito-breeding-ground that is stagnant, standing water.

Meanwhile, this is one case where perceptions are very far from the truth. For one, a mosquito with eggs in here is akin to the rabbit who lays her bunnies in a lion’s den. Moreover, if you’re like a wood frog (the barking I heard yesterday) you rely on these puddles for the survival of your entire family line.

Whether they look pretty to you or not, these places are supposed to be here.

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  1. Or if you’re lucky, such a pool might give rise to a chorus of spring peepers! Though they seem to be in short supply around my property in recent years, replaced by the wood frogs that sound like ducks have come to visit.

    1. Paula:

      The wood frogs are an indicator that qualifies it as a vernal pool. I do prefer the sound of the peepers though. Might be a different story if I had to live with hundreds of them outside my bedroom window, but still, their call sure does make me smile.

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