My kids love toads. We have a creek (pronounced “crik” in Central Pennsylvania) next to our house, and so we get lots of toads every year. Every day since I’ve been back, I check the window well to see if any of the usual crooners are there. The lady and kids aren’t back from the old country yet, so this daily ritual helps me feel closer to them. This morning, however, I found something else.Beauty, eh? I thought so. I like snakes, especially ones that aren’t going to kill me if they bite. Under the Chinese zodiac, I’m considered a wood snake, but I digress…
This is an impressive garter snake, deep rich coloring, and thick. But not always so thick. This is what he was doing when I first found him.Yep, those are two little toad legs sticking out of its mouth. Two more toads, both a little larger than the unlucky one, sat perfectly still in the corners watching.
I showed the pictures to my eldest sister who is visiting from South Africa. Having grown up in the country like me, I thought she too would think it was cool to watch nature in action. She thought it was horrible. “Imagine the horror of the other toads that are watching.” I thought about that. Were they afraid? Or were they relieved that a competitor is now gone, and felt safe in knowing the snake won’t eat again for a few days. Maybe they didn’t think about it at all. I don’t know.
Either way, what occurred wasn’t horrible, it was Nature, the food chain in action. The snake wasn’t being mean, it was being a snake. The toad was not a victim, he was food. Nature is dangerous, deadly, and real. It is also beautiful and wonderfully interconnected…and we are part of it, the circle of life. Peace.