Simply a toad.


Sophia Tabor '21

Once I found a toad in my window well.  He wasn’t a particularly large toad, but he wasn’t a small toad, either.  He simply was a toad. I spotted him while putting my laundry in the washing machine.  Our laundry room is in the basement, with a window half below ground, and thus the window well.  I had pressed start on the rinse cycle and turned around, and there he was. A toad. A plump, brown little thing with dark black eyes, bumps all over his back, and a mouth that stretched around his face.  Some might look at him and say he’s ugly. His head is too big for his body, and his mouth is too big for his head. However, I looked at this toad and saw a creature who needed my help. I had no clue how he had gotten down there, but I knew for a fact that he wasn’t going to be able to get out on his own.  The walls were steep and too high for a creature that small to hop out of, and at night my pet cat came stalking for any prey unfortunate enough to cross his path. Leaving the toad there would be a death sentence. If my cat didn’t get him, he would surely starve.

I turned on my heels and was up my stairs and to my front door as fast as I could be.  I pulled on my well used flip flops and made my way to the garden. It was hot outside, being near the end of July, and to my horror I saw that the window well provided almost no shade to my toad friend.  He must have been roasting. I launched myself into that window well. The toad hopped backwards out of shock from my sudden appearance. I crouched down and tried to calm him, reaching out my hands to grab his fat little body.  I wrapped them around him, holding him like a hamburger, and stood slowly. I used one of my thumbs to pet his head, trying to calm him down. I could feel him breathing, quick little bursts of in and out.

Now, however, I had a new problem.  Where was I going to put the toad? I looked around my yard.  To the left stood my garage and my gravel driveway. This was not a good place for a toad.  The ground was too hard for him to burrow, and the chances of him getting run over by a car were too high.  I looked to my right. The grass gave way to a treeline, the edge of a forest. Under the brush the ground would be damp and cool.  There were plenty of rotting logs filled with little bugs, and dirt soft enough for him to burrow down in it. The forest was the perfect place to put my toad.  I took two big steps out of the window well and made a beeline for the woods. The toad was starting to wiggle in my grasp as I walked, and I held him tighter to make sure he didn’t fall and hurt himself.  At last we arrived at the woods. Already I felt cooler in the shade cast by the trees. I moved a bit inward, wanting to make sure my toad was as safe as could be, and placed him at the foot of a stump. He sat there for a moment, getting accustomed to his new surroundings.  I gave him a little nudge, and he began to slowly but surely make his way deeper into the forest. I wished my toad well, and made my way back to the house, happy to know he was safe at last.