Toads are really fascinating, marvelous creatures. I don't say that merely because of my husband's nickname, but because I've always felt that. Finding them has always brought me pleasure. How many wild animals can a child get so close to? Touch even? Of course, it always ended with my mother worrying over disease and, occasionally, toad urine.
As I grew, so did my empathy for other creatures. Having a strange giant handle you, however gently, must be nightmarish to a wee beast. I no longer physically bother them unless I must. Seeing them still delights me.
I've been going outside just about every night. I don't wander farther than my front lawn, really. Each night I see at least one toad on the sidewalk. I love watching them. They are so awkward looking in some way - like little blobs. It's funny to think of them as predators. They aren't svelte like a cat or deadly looking like an eagle, but they pack some speed and power in their tongues. They are so focused and intent - you can see it when the moon or artificial lighting reflects off their shiny eyes. Sometimes they sense the vibrations from my feet and hop away, but some of them stand their ground. Perhaps they are paralyzed by fear from the giant in their midst, or perhaps they are pretending to be a rock: perhaps both or neither. I whisper comforting thoughts to them and thank them for their presence.
Tonight there were six toads on the sidewalk. One was very, very small. He was hunkered down in a crack in the sidewalk. Another was quite large - a prince or princess among toads. Tomorrow morning, the whole court will dissolve back into the quiet places.
( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )