Now there’s not one toad but two

There is a difference between a frog and a toad but as I’m lying on my back on a rug on the grass and the thermometer is nudging thirty I really cannot muster the enthusiasm to go and find out what it is.  Up above me the swifts are drawing patterns in the sky with their black new moon wings.   They look so high somewhere up there between the feathered clouds and the blue.

We used to have one toad in the garden, a handsome fellow.  He was mottled brown and suddenly appeared as if from nowhere in the middle of our patio.  He sat for many minutes without a care before flexing his back legs.  With a couple of hops he was away and back into the cooler and damper undergrowth.  We saw him there again the other day underneath the Campanula.

A crow flies across my line of sight from left to right with a purposeful beat of its glossy wings, straight as crows fly while a wood pigeon heads lazily the other way.  Where could they be going in this heat?

Today another toad appeared as silently as the first but this one was a lot smaller and green.  He appeared next to the tall urn on the patio.  We looked at each other for a while before he walked his way back under the paving slabs where I can only assume he’s made his home. Perhaps it was a she, I couldn’t tell.  

A blackbird landed less than a metre away from me, her dun colour belying her name and she cocked her head and looked for food beneath the Lavatera. She seemed happy with me in the garden.  I wasn’t a threat and she tossed the fallen leaves aside with her bill to see what was underneath.  I shut my eyes and folded my arm across my face to take away the glare from the sun.  The smell of warm skin and the gentle hum of the bees in the Hydrangea added to my sopor.

There is so much life in our little garden: the bugs; the birds; the amphibians; the mammals; not to mention all the plants and mosses and fungi.  So much of it I know nothing about and so much I didn’t even know was there, that is until today.  Underneath each stone and behind each plant and over by the shed, the whole place is teeming.  It’s an ecosystem and I only have a minor role to play.

And now the sun is going down and I’m sitting in the kitchen watching the bats dance in the blackening sky, their flickering wings taking them away for a night’s work and I wonder what other creatures will come and visit our little garden.

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