[by Teresa] Yesterday the girls and I found a wood frog in our front yard. It’s likely this fellow came from a pond teeming with frogs ten minutes down the trail from our house; in the spring we can hear the din from home. Not exactly a remarkable discovery until you think about where we live.
The Yukon isn’t the most hospitable place for amphibians; the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) is one of just a handful of amphibians that can survive our northern winters. This handsome little frog is the northernmost amphibian in North America, and it doesn’t just survive—it thrives in many ponds in the Yukon. Their story of adaptation is incredible; in winter their cells fill with glucose which acts like antifreeze, helping the wood frog survive as its body temperature drops well below freezing.
Watching the frog with the girls reminded me of a special photograph Fritz took at the pond four years ago this summer. In July 2006 I was hugely pregnant and barely getting off the sofa, and with just a couple of weeks to go I was keeping Fritz on a pretty short leash. He’d gone on a few quick trips in June, but by July I wanted him shooting well within cell phone range, and in Whitehorse that means not leaving city limits. No day trips to White Pass, no afternoons in a blind at Kluane. He found stuff to do and things to shoot, but it was frustrating to be stuck so close to home at the height of the northern summer.
One morning he headed to the pond and found loads of frogs and wildflowers—the twinflower (linnea borealis) was in bloom. We spoke a couple of times through the day; I’d had faint contractions and set up a doctor appointment for the next morning. Fritz was home by dinnertime, and that evening he showed me some of his day’s work. One series stopped me short: a pair of frogs flanking a twinflower.
Given that we were expecting twins—and I had basically started going into labour that day—I was struck by the symbolism of the shot. But Fritz had been so absorbed with shooting, the significance didn’t dawn on him till I pointed it out. That night he sent this photo out with a mock baby announcement to our families declaring our “hoppy” arrivals.