A Poetic Inventory of Rocky Mountain National Park: Wood Frog

Over the course of the 24-hour BioBlitz at Rocky Mountain National Park people will have a lot of experiences recording the species of plants and animals they see. The results will be recorded with numbers and check-boxes and Latin species names, but that is only part of the story of the life in the park.

To fill out the rest of that story, more than 50 writers across Colorado have each selected a species and written a poem or other short piece about it. They use different techniques, took different points of view, and together put together a whole other way of looking at the species inventory of the park. And now I’ll follow the advice of the collection’s editor, Charlie Malone, who simply says “It’s best to let the work speak for itself.”

In the next few posts, enjoy a brief selection from the full “Poetic Inventory of Rocky Mountain National Park” to be published by Colorado’s own Wolverine Farm Publishing.

Numbers, images, and words all tell a different part of the story of each creature, like this wood frog. Photograph by Kevin Chodzinski, My Shot.


Wood Frog  (Rana Sylvatica)

by David Mason


Leaf-mantle, snow-pall—

a living thing can freeze

and sleep in secrecy,

and when it comes to thaw,


can tongue a feast from air

that would to most seem nought,

a bit of crystal fog

that can’t go far.


And if the bandit mask

seems a fine excess

for what it must disguise

from others, don’t ask


this slight amphibian

not to be hidden.

Whatever the season,

whether asleep in leaves

or leaping free of humans,

the wood frog has its reasons.


Used with permission from A Poetic Inventory of Rocky Mountain National Park / Wolverine Farm Publishing.


More in This Series

BioBlitz Poetic Inventory: Black Bear

BioBlitz Poetic Inventory: Garter Snake

Human Journey

Meet the Author
Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.