This Fourth of July, I found noise I needed.
The sounds I find soul-filling; music to my
ears. It begins to unfold just before dawn...
I sat out on the screened-in, back porch as
the eastern sky began to show its hint of deep
blue. A symphony was beginning and I had a free
A leopard frog begins warming up the orchestra
with his perfect, C major voice, two octaves
above middle C. "Breeeeeeeeeeeeeee"..."Breeeeeeeeeeeeee"
...then another begins to answer from the other
shoreline in perfect fifths. Never together; they
wait, careful to listen to each other. Another
frog chimes in with another sound, kind of like
fingers squeaking across wet rubber. Then another,
until the grassy shoreline sets the undertone with
sounds of the opening prelude.
In the early morning, as sky begins to outline the
still-silhouetted shore, a cardinal calls for her
mate. He answers her from a pine tree in our backyard.
The stage curtain is about to raise, and the conductor,
a woodpecker, taps in four-quarter time on a tree from
just across the lake. The sun has yet to appear.
A mockingbird joins the group with, "Rikki...Rikki...
Rikki..Rikki." The blue heron squawks somewhere from
the predawn to add richness to the high squeal of the
leopard frogs. A squirrel begins to bark, then another
from far away. A mallard quacks loudly, just offshore,
keeping the beat and calling to the sextet far away,
adding his unique saxophone sound. They answer,
adding dimension. A bass smashes the surface of the
lake; cymbals. And, within minutes, the entire lake
is the sound stage. All have joined in now; the music
I sit on the porch for an hour, or so, as Mother
Nature plays just for me. My bulldog, "Flats," sits
beside me, cocking his head sideways, not understanding
why he can't just go chase the squirrels (he has no
appreciation of fine music).
The grandkids have now arrived and they began adding
to the music. Their laughter and their billions of
questions blends into the lake noise; pots and pans
clattering in the kitchen adds percussion, as
daughter and mother chatter, affixing even more
richness to the wanted commotion.
I walk to the grill down by the lake and add secret
sauces to the smoking, pork ribs. Our Puerto Rican
neighbors, next door, begin playing a Latin music
CD, and come out and invited us to join our foods
and families in celebrating the day. Another needed
ingredient added perfectly to the music of life and
The day plays on. Aromas, then laughter, added to
different languages, added to lake sounds, added
to children's laughter, all sounds becoming equaled
and balanced; then harmonize.
A thunderstorm appears from nowhere, thought to
others as an interruption, only adding more to the
musical score. Lightning flashes, thunder crashes,
leaving all to scatter. It's intermission.
Two hours pass, and the storm moves to the east
and begins to subside. A drizzle of rain speckles
the surface of the lake, creating a tinkling sound.
The air is cooler now.
leopard frog opens the second half of the concert;
a fine tenor soloist.
The drizzle is still falling on the lake and through
the trees, enough to dampen things, but not spirits.
A dual rainbow appears from south to north and the
lake folk suddenly erupt into applause, welcoming
it. "Ripples" the canoe, had been placed in the
lake earlier for the grandkids, and now the reflection
of the rainbow appears to end at the rear seat. It
had been Terry's canoe, still was. Terry's spirit
was sitting there; Linda and I both noticed him.
It seemed fitting that Terry and Steve had joined
us at the lake. We were having ribs, Steve's favorite.
I notice others gathering around the shore, adding
chairs and coolers and colored tarps. It's just past
As the stage lights dim, fireworks begin all around
the lake. Blasts of color light the evening's deep,
purple sky. The Master provides fingers of heat
lightning that dances and etches the darkness,
providing the perfect backdrop on a stage set
with life. Muffled thunder rolls, must be "Mr.
God's Trombones," I thought. Explosions of
firecrackers and mortar shells keep time.
The frogs sing in their strange harmony. The
grandkids clap for the array of showering colors,
and their laughter splatters even more sparkle
into the cool, night air. Our neighbors and we
join in warm conversation. I lean against an old
pine tree, slightly away from the others gathered
on the bank, enjoying the sights, and the concert
of necessary noise.
See y'all next week. ~ Capt. Gary
Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much
of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area.
After moving a little closer to the coast, his
interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still
visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."
He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's
and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little
over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow
water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came
around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary
doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the
waters will ever be present.
Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater
patterns in the early '90's and has participated as
a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers
on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting
and tying instructor and stained glass artist,
creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.