Yesterday was what we call the First Day of Summer on Chinese calendar. It is also referred to the day (and a period of about five days) “when frogs start singing.” I believe it is so called because this is the time of the year when we irrigate the rice field in preparation of planting seedlings, attracting frogs to take up residence there and start croaking to find partners.
In a way, their voices tell us that we have prepared the field correctly and we may start rice planting.
Maybe it is their acknowledgement of our success in arriving at this agricultural step.
Maybe it is their approval of our readiness to move on to the next stage.
Maybe it is their encouragement for us to keep putting the same effort in up to harvest.
So, I was very surprised to hear frogs’ voices on this particular day at the classical music festival I decided to go after all… in a special tie-up programme in which a French audio-naturalist B.J. played his collection of sounds of nature, without giving the audience any visual clues as to what made those sounds. I had no idea that the electro sound I heard was actually made by little French frogs the size of the tip of our pinky finger!
Now, I doubt the artist ever knew about the seasonal significance of frogs singing in our culture, so he probably played the sound of their voices simply because he thought it would be intriguing to us. And I am almost certain the French frogs do not speak the same language as the ones in my homeland do, so for all I know, they could have been talking about how to escape being served at dinner. (Please excuse my stereotype… I do not mean to offend anybody French, humans or frogs!)
But to me, it sounded like they were acknowledging my little triumph over apprehension, approving my readiness to go out into a little bigger world, and encouraging me to let in and meet up with a little more people. And interesting enough, on my way home from the event, I received a message from an old friend whom I have not seen for quite a while, inviting me for a cup of afternoon tea.
What was my reply? I will keep you guessing for now, but here is a clue – when frogs start singing, the time is just right to move on to the next stage of cultivation, for me anyway!