Last night, while driving home in the pouring rain, I saw a brownish-yellow leaf on the road, highlighted by my headlights. As the car drew nearer, the leaf seemed to be lifted by the wind and carried in two arcs to the side of the road. In fact, it looked almost like it was hopping.
The idea was still forming in my mind that it may have been a frog (or toad) when I saw another one. This one was sitting on the edge of the road and I was able to distinguish that, yes, this was some type of amphibian, and it confirmed my suspicions about the previous ones I’d seen.
Having identified the first two frogs, I was then able to spot more – and there were a lot along this particular stretch of road, all trying to get to the other side. Luckily I was able to avoid hitting them, but it did get me thinking about the situation.
Had it not been for the specific lighting provided by the combination of the rain and the headlights, I never would have seen those frogs. And while some of them expertly dodged the car, Frogger style, there were others that I actively steered around – those ones would certainly have ended up squished and I never would have known. Perhaps they ended up flat anyway, courtesy of another car with a driver who didn’t notice their presence, or perhaps one who did notice and simply didn’t care.
It struck me as a perfect metaphor for the relationship between humans and the natural world. For centuries we’ve blundered around, shaping the world to fit our needs. Sometimes, some of us notice that we’re causing harm and we do what we can to stop it. Others of us never even notice the harm, or refuse to believe harm is being caused. Some people are aware of the harm and just don’t care.
The greatest threat to the frogs are the people who don’t even know they’re there. We could, of course, tell them that the frogs are there, but we humans are a skeptical lot. We like to see things with our own eyes. What we really need to do is provide the correct lighting conditions so people can see the frogs for themselves. Then it’s up to them what kind of person they want to be.
Personally, in life’s great game of Frogger, I want to be the type of person who helps get the frog safely across the road.
Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.