Saturday, July 15, 2006

Cultivating Toads

Two nights ago, it rained. It rained swift and bullet-hard against the big window overlooking the parking lot at work, and people walked into the hotel with shoulders drenched from the twenty-foot walk between car and door. "It's wet out there," they complained. But even from indoors, I soaked up the rain and its tangible atmosphere of release.

Meanwhile, three miles away, baby toads emerged from a scummy, stinky pond near my house onto solid ground that finally--after weeks of drought--offered hospitality to their thin, delicate, permeable skins. Last night, the yard quaked with them: tiny, intermittent earthquakes for which I stopped and stooped. We stepped carefully through the grass with our bratwurst, to and from the grill in the garage, trying as much as possible (but mostly hoping) not to squash them underfoot. I thought about nature and how it overproduces, knowing without consciousness that so many of these toads will become road-kill, yard-kill, bird food, or baked in the sun.

Today it's hot. 94 degrees outside, says the Weather Channel. Feels like 98, they add. I'm grateful for the air conditioner that cools only the rooms downstairs, and so far only to 74 dry degrees. Upstairs, in our bedroom-loft, with two facing windows wide open, our always-oscillating fan's digital thermostat reads 99, but there is clearly only room there for two digits. Up there, the bed is warm to the touch and my goldfish (poor Gordon) steeps in his tank.

When I came home at 5:00 from ten hours of blissfully air conditioned work, I gave my rock garden its daily drink. But my thoughts weren't with my desert-evolved moss roses, most of which still bloomed brightly. Today, I watered the toads that now call my garden habitat, and that sprang up here and there from beneath the rocks when the stream of water splashed around them. After all, two nights ago nature tricked them. If the weather can't be kind, I can be.


Blogger Loralee Choate said...

That little froggie is adorable! I am also very fond of toads (Although that movie, "Magnolia" grossed me out with the raining toads. Bleck).

I'm so glad you're watering them. We had froggie babies and went away for a weekend and they died. James was heartbroken.

Keep up the good work and post more froggie pics (Cause you can never have too many).

7/16/2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I'm a little worried about moving, actually. In two weeks, someone else will move in and possibly neglect our flowers and our toads. Maybe I'll leave a note about them on the kitchen counter...

7/19/2006 1:46 PM  

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