There used to be tiny toads in the lawn at the parental home, from spring through fall. The house was a few hundred feet from an estuary on Long Island Sound.
They were like little living stones. We didn’t touch them. We’d lie in the damp grass on our stomachs, watching. We’d fall asleep, and wake later. And they’d still be there, but someplace else.
After waking, cheeks and calves, and if we’d fallen asleep with a palm pillowing a head, the back of one hand, would show grass-textured pressure-patterns.
Grass’s sweet scent and the tang of the earth would be filling the air. And if we’d worn long-sleeved shirts, our elbows would be green. We’d turn on our backs and watch the sky for a while, then, when our shirtfronts had dried off, get up to do something else.
Toad-watching days happened no more than two or three times a year. But they fill my memories of nine months of each year for a long string of past years.
About ten years ago, the toads were suddenly gone. They’ve never returned.