Saturday, March 13, 2010

contre jour, toad, fishy






















Into the sun.

Last year and the year before at about this time I met a toad in the garden. And then forgot about it. Today, while sweeping up some leaves, I notice that a leaf becomes animated and began to crawl forward on its own. It was the toad, if not the toad, a toad. I do not know much about toads. Do they live long? Do they lead solitary lives? This one moves very slowly. It crawls the way I was taught to crawl - one arm forward, one leg forward, other arm forward, other leg forward, keep your head down, keep your bottom down, a rifle in one hand, during my National Service training. Apart from the rifle, the toad seems to be reading from the same rule book. It fixes one eye on me, but does not seem worried by my presence. I miss wild life in the more or less urban setting in which we live. There are foxes it, is true, an occasional sparrow hawk and the usual garden birds. The world 'wild' does not sit easily with toad, but, still, I feel a little like like the leaf, which came to life, a few minutes ago, gently stirred by the encounter.

In the health food shop, a kindly lady, who works there, is polishing a spot on the counter with some kitchen roll and spraying it with an aerosol can. "There was a man here," she says " with a bag of fish. He put it down on the counter, while he was paying. I said to myself: 'Funny, I can smell fish. Do you go to the fishmonger round the corner, " she asks, and I fancy that for a moment she suspects me of harbouring a bag of fish.
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4 comments:

The Crow said...

A poignant photo, full of drama and mystery; a toad that reminds me of the one I blinded with the weed-whacker (oh, the guilt, the guilt!); and a sweet chuckle at the end...what more could one ask from a post of life's vignettes?

Nothing, I think. This one is perfect.

Barrett Bonden said...

On the shooting range we were constantly urged to get as low as possible to ensure stability when holding the rifle. One aircraftsman overdid it: "Blimey, you could walk under a snake's belly wearing a top-hat."

Lucy said...

What a wonderful photo.

I don't remember being so aware of toads until coming here. I somehow imagine they live quite long, they seem to take a long time to grow and eat very little, which indicates a slow metabolism and hence perhaps a long life. Salamanders were a surprise, they are shaped like lizards but move in the toadlike way you describe, which seems misplaced.

Plutarch said...

Isn't there a myth about toads having a jewel buried in their heads? Thanks for appreciation. That's Heidi by the way walking towards the sun.