Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Calling me down to their watery graves

This post first appeared on moscaline 4/1/2006

One of the nicest things about riding in Knoxville is the third creek greenway. A twisty strip of asphalt wending its way through a riparian zone, an urban oasis sandwiched between railroad tracks, old neighborhoods and crumbling industry. A healthy dose of hobo singletrack leaves and joins the paved path at frequent intervals. While I am generally no fan of cycling on mixed use paths, this one is special.

Particularly pleasant is riding the path at night. There usually is just enough ambient light to guide your way as the path morphs into a shimmery silver strip through the forest. However, it can be slightly disquieting. As you crest a small hill and drop into the low spots on the trail next to the creek that gives the path its name, the temperature drops noticeably. Then you hear it: the call of the peepers. From the swamp on either side a cacophony of calls emits, growing to a deafening crescendo.

As you ride along the peepers on either side grow quiet as you pass until you are enveloped in a rolling enclosure of brief silence between frog cries. But woe be the traveler who stops on their way. At first you are in a temporary silence between the far off peeps, but slowly the nearby frogs, sensing your stillness, begin to call out to you. Impelling you to follow them into their stagnant inches of dank swamp. The call is irresistible to some and many a weary nomad has been called to their watery grave by the siren cry of the peepers.

No comments: