Red-eyed Tree Frog by Dionisio Paniagua

What does it mean that ten new species of amphibians—“three poisonous frogs, three glass frogs, one harlequin frog, two kinds of rain frogs and one salamander,” according to news reports—have been discovered in the mountains of Colombia? 

As biologists tell us, amphibians are “indicator species”; that is, their permeable skin makes them sensitive to environmental changes that humans may not be aware exist. 

To ecologists, the presence of these creatures is both a sign of hope and a cause for concern—hope because it reflects a healthy environment, concern because that environment is a particularly fragile one.

Hope, too, is a fragile thing, shy and easily injured. We want and need to live our lives in hope, but past disappointment makes us wary. It is at such moments that the words of the Psalmist seem particularly apt: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”