Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tiny Pool of Wonder

For the past week, it has been pouring in the Pond. Because I can not be contained, I often walk in the rain. Carefully hiding under my umbrella and stepping gingerly from the curb to the street, I leap over the small lakes and rivers below me. What once was a pothole or chunk missing from the road has become a tiny pool of wonder.

Stopping as the rain beats down around me, I bend down to peer at the tiny pools. Is it my imagination, or is there a tiny toad swimming in the depths of the murky water? In this urban landscape I work in, I'm lucky if I see a butterfly or some birds, particularly in the scorching heat of the summer. Glaring concrete does not attract many animals.

Within each tiny pool, tiny bits of life are forming. Birds bathe and drink as they flutter their wings rapidly; tiny bugs skate over the surface of a nearby pool. Earthworms slither through the water like snakes, crawling from pool to pool to find their home in the soil.

The star of this minuscule water world is the tiny toad, who hops from pond to pond. He gently swims through the water, settling on the pebbles lining the bottom and waiting for the rain pounding his personal pond to slow. If only there were small minnows to join him, each small world would be a true tiny pond, complete with all plant life needed.

One can almost imagine the toad's day. He must awake each morning with a helping of peppered gnats, then take a morning swim. He ventures out in the late morning to explore the unknown territory around him, conquering the neighboring lake as his own and treating the current spiders and earthworms that inhabit it as kindly as he treats his own people. After such an adventure, he dines on precisely one half of a cricket, saving the other half for the next day. After a day of such important tasks as hopping, jumping, bouncing and wiggling, he retires to the bottom of the pond to sleep on a bed of moss and clovers as both earthworms and incests swim around him.

For now, however, the toad has clovers and weeds to content himself as gnats and flies buzz by. The grackles have all hidden in the bushes away from the sidewalk, and only the sparrows disturb his tranquility. For now, the tiny frog is truly the frog king of this universe.