Fall is in the air, and toads are making frequent appearances in my life–many of them as some form of carbon-based pancake along the paths where my life leads.
- Baby toad at front door squashed by my son coming home from work. Oh, those steel-toed shoes
- Road crunchings- These are far more frequent then I care to reveal. I don’t know if the toads get extra tubby this time of year as they prepare for hibernation. It seems a primary place for the pancakes is right along the curb. Could it be their failure to clear the curb leads to their ultimate demise?
- Walk/bike path splattering. Unfortunately, it looked like some of the toads met their demise as an intentional effort of an angry bicyclist. If not a bicyclist, possibly a pedestrian like myself with a lack of compassion for one of his fellow vertebrates.
- One along the path I nudged into the grass with the hope he vacated the area before the mower came through the next day
- One who chose to swim a couple of laps in our pool. Guessing salt water pools are better than chlorine pools. My daughter nearly fell in trying to fish him out with the net. He seemed content to do laps back and forth to avoid the net and lure her every closer to the point of tipping in.
Toad-sympathy is probably just a by-product of the window wells at my house growing up. A house in the woods, by definition, is likely to having many leaves in the fall. Our house was no exception. In the winter, many of these leaves decomposed in varying degrees in this slightly warmer part of an otherwise cold world. In the spring and summer, we would handle the toads and refer to them as pets. We never took it personally when they had the need to relieve their bladders. We expected it and usually had their posteriors pointed away from us.
Some people probably like the more conventional “pets” of cats and dogs. While we had those growing up too, there is something about a toad that makes them more interesting. Whether it is the hibernating or the whole amphibious life cycle, I can’t help but look at a toad (or frog or salamander) without smiling. God plays a part in all of us making it to adulthood. To me it just seems more miraculous when one of our warty friends overcomes life’s obstacles and does the same.