The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Friday, June 19, 2015

Liturgy of the Frogs

There are many things about our temporary lodgings in Anselm Hall while the monastery is under renovation that I find agreeable. Other things, not so much. Home is home, and we all long to be there. The temporary move, however, has been a good opportunity to practice virtues like charity, patience, simplicity, and surrendering expectations.

In any event, one thing about my room in Anselm Hall I enjoy very much is the symphony outside my window each evening. My third-floor room overlooks two courtyards--one directly below me, and another just off to the right. Dwelling near the small pond in each courtyard is at least one frog, though I have never seen either. Each evening--say, about 8 p.m. or so--one of them pipes up. The other, occupying the courtyard on the other side of the wing that separates them, responds in kind. And they continue in this manner, first one and then the other, back and forth. For hours. Soon, a couple seemingly smaller, less throaty specimens join in--forming some sort of amphibious backup chorus. 

(There also are three box turtles in the courtyard directly below me--having been transported from their previous confines in the monastery, where it would be too dangerous for them to be right now. Unlike the frogs, however, they don't say much.)

I find the little nightly concert very relaxing, peaceful, and soothing. A good way to end the day. I sit in my chair and listen to the frogs perform each evening (I can hear them distinctly even with my windows closed and the air-conditioning on) before turning in for the night. Of course, I have no idea what they are communicating to one another, or even if they know what they are doing, but there is a beautiful symmetry and harmony to it all. Creatures praising Creator by simply being what they were created to be.

Back and forth, one after the other, listening and responding, making music together. Like monks chanting the Divine Office.

A couple evenings ago, I opened a window, placed my laptop on the sill, and used a sound-recording function to capture this "Liturgy of the Frogs." Novice Timothy--a fellow frog-lover who hails, as I do, from Findlay, Ohio--joined the audio recording to a few images from around Saint Meinrad Archabbey, producing the two-minute video above (and enabling me to post the result here). Many thanks to him.

Enjoy the show (remember to turn your volume up). Another live performance due up in a few hours... 

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