Friday, September 9, 2016

The Big Night

On the night of the first warm rain in April—known to herpetologists as the “Big Night”—spotted salamanders emerge from beneath rotting leaves and logs, migrate to their natal pools, and gather in “congress” to mate and lay eggs. Salamander romance involves slippery winding together of bodies, and breeding pools are said to boil with salamanders writhing in their nuptial dance.

I’ve never witnessed the salamander migration—every year I’m too busy or too tired or I forget. But last spring I resolved to not miss the Big Night and so, on a drizzly Saturday evening soon after the snow melted, I amassed our collection of headlamps and herded my family out the door.

This is the start of my essay "The Big Night," about salamanders migrating and—what else?—little boys growing up. You can read the rest, if you'd like, at Coffee + Crumbs.

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