Fifteen years or so ago a museum exhibit got me thinking about our amphibious friends -- the frogs.  To badly mash up the metaphor, frogs are one of those canaries-in-the-birdcage in terms of reflecting the state of our environment.    

And then . . . there’s just the memory of frogs – and lots of other critters – having at it on a muggy summer night in the days before air conditioning.   

© Steven E. Cutts, 2006   
a Studio C recording, summer 2015   

I love a sticky summer night   
Far away from electric lights,   
Just a full and shimmerin’ moon peekin’ through the oaks --   
The temperature inclined to stay   
As hot as it had baked all day;   
It’s right about then that the frogs begin to croak.   

And as the nighttime settles in   
and the whoops and the grunts and the chirps begin   
I lean back in my front porch swing;   
I listen to the froggy masters sing.    
I don’t need another place to go   
or a baseball game on the radio   
‘cause I’m in heaven   
when the frogs begin to croak.   

Those croakers either hide or are in disguise;   
The loudest of the bunch are mostly guys   
Who think that snortin’ will impress froggy womenfolk.   
Each one tries to burp louder than the others   
Doing his best to outdo his brothers;   
It’s a mighty raucous chorus   
When the frogs begin to croak.   

I never met a frog that in the end   
I didn’t think could be my friend   
With those big, bulgy eyes   
And that wide goofy froggy grin.   
Some camouflaged in greens and browns;   
Some orange and blue as bright as clowns   
With legs so strong they might jump right out of their skins.   

But it turns out frogs are sensitive   
To changes ‘round the place they live;   
A little something different in their world   
Can make them really sick.   
Frogs are Mother Nature’s warning sign;   
We’d better be alert ‘cause frogs are dyin’!   
Got to clean up the water and our air   
And do it really quick   

‘Cause I’m afraid that there’s no doubt   
That the whoops and the grunts are fadin’ out.   
It’s gonna be a sad, sad, sad, sad thing   
If no more froggy masters sing.   
We’ll all need another place to go.   
(I hope they tell us where on the radio.)   
We’ll all be in trouble   
When the frogs begin to croak!   

            We’ll all be in heaven when the frogs begin to croak!