mercredi 21 octobre 2009

Rain and Eugénie digs a hole

Rain


I just came back up from the pool pump, turning it back on for the first time since I found Eugénie G. Toad waiting for a miracle or the end of her forces, clutching the handle of the pool filter basket for all she was worth. The presence of the lid pressing on her back must have helped. Wedged into that small space of light and air and hope, she had only to wait. I wonder, did the energetic and cheerful little frog below her annoy her, or distract her from her distress?

She was like a triathlete, running as long as the finish line remained before her, collapsing as soon as she was released from her predicament, the lid no longer there to hold her in place. I watched her head drop, her hind legs loose their grip and slip, hanging below her thick toad body, pulling her down, down, down. I took hold of her; it was the only kind thing to do. She'd had it.

Yesterday, I helped her take possession of her new home, somewhat against her will. I, convinced she found safety with me and didn't want to leave me. She? How can I know? She is a toad. I know my own thoughts, but I cannot know hers. I can see that she holds onto me, that she struggles against my putting her down, returns to my hand, to any part of me in reach rather than stay on the ground, but what is she thinking? We look at each other in wordless communication. I talk to her. She can hear me, unless she is deaf, which she might be after some 30 meters, shooting through the pipes of the pool. But does she trust me? Am I safety? Does she feel now that she needs me? These are human responses, but we look at our pets -- unless we're talking about cats, of which I have two, have had many more, and can definitely say that they would prefer that I not believe this of them --, and we are certain that they respond just like we do. And maybe Eugénie did. I read this in the toad biology section on Toadilytoad.com:
Toads are extrememly [sic] smart and toads are much more human like [sic] in personality, but these are just generalizations since I have known smart frogs and not so smart toads, as well as toads with no personality and frogs who had alot [sic] of personality.
I stopped to see if I could see Eugénie, like I surprised myself and did yesterday afternoon, when I broke down once and lifted the leaves and brushed carefully at the dirt, suddenly feeling her cold flesh under my fingertips. Startled, I pulled my hand back and then lowered my head, tilted to the side to be able to see inside her house. Two big round eyes gazed back at me.

"Excuse-moi, Eugénie... je suis désolée, je ne voulais pas --" I fumbled, reaching for the leaves to return her to the protection and quiet of her nest in the dirt under the yew, by the clematis, the holly and the Falstaff rose.

I intended to leave her alone, let her be a toad, free of me (unless she came looking for me. One day, I'd open the French door to go out and see her sitting there, waiting to be with me. I'd think how I had nearly stepped on her and wish to install a tiny bell for Eugénie G.), but there I was, heading across the terrace under a heavy rain, to kneel on the brick ledge along the planting bed. Once again, I removed the large, dry linden leaves from inside her flower pot house. Very carefully, I placed my fingers where she had been yesterday and felt an Eugénie-sized depression in the soil. I pressed a little harder, brushing the soil ever so gingerly, but there was no cool flesh, only a hole. Eugénie, the real toad that she is, is doing the very toady thing of making her own hibernaculum, leading from the house I made her.

Hoping not to be considered impossibly intrusive, the very worst sort of human neighbor a toad could have, I followed the hole as far as I could with my fingers, but I never felt her cold skin. The hole leads under the roots, towards the center of the yew, either where she was sitting, staying warm, or which she had left, heading out to explore her surroundings at the top of the garden.

In case she could hear me, I said, "Salut, Eugénie. Je reviendrai te voir encore."
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