The sunshine eventually gets me off my ass every year, to address the front porch. Arranging flower pots, organizing and positioning everything in anticipation of the patio garden season.
I finally tackled out the stack of leaves I’ve ignored all winter as they wedged themselves in between the fence planks and flower pots. I dug them out with an old broom, damp and clumped together due the morning’s rain. But I’ll get ’em!
Sweep, sweep, sweep… Hmmm. They really are sticking, huh?
“C’mon, leaves. Leave!”
Pleased with my cleverness, I snort and continue. Sweep, sweep, sweep. Sweep, sweep.
What IS that? It’s too heavy. Parting the leaves with the edge of the broom, I take a better look.
Oh! A toad. But not like any toad I’ve ever seen. He’s ALL black, including his eyes, which move oh-so-slowly. Completely and utterly matte black, and I’ve got to say, he’s about the Zen-est toad I’ve ever seen. I’d been sweeping this sucker all over the porch, going, “Why do these leaves feel heavy?” and he doesn’t budge.
He looks up at me, calmly following my motion with one ebony eye. He waits. I nudge him, he repositions himself and waits. Black eye, just staring.
I feel a little guilty, but he can’t hang in the leaves because they aren’t staying in the middle of the porch. I don’t want to offend him, though. Toads by the door are great Feng Shui–they fetch money to your door–and I think, “Hey, maybe he’s a friend of Ganesha.” Wouldn’t want to be rude.
I swept the rest of leaves away. Hell. I didn’t really have a funky Plutonian-toad-friendly hideout awaiting, so I scooted him into a corner behind a couple of flower pots, apologizing aloud and inviting him to hang there. (No, I have no effen’ clue why they neighbors think I’m crazy.) It had some cover, but also an escape route when he’s ready to go.
He stayed there while I finished sweeping and coffee, bidding him farewell before coming in to Google his ass. What kind of toad, and what do black toads symbolize? You know, I couldn’t find a single damn picture that looked like him, nor did I see an all-black variety listed on any regionally appropriate wildlife guides.
I have no idea what kind of toad he was, expect that he seemed to have a very Pluto kind of vibe.
The first thing I run across web searching the symbolism was Toads as witches familiars, and I laughed out loud. I’ve been getting a lot of witch references lately, so perhaps I was being reunited with a familiar or from a former life.
The black toad is evidently also a symbol in alchemy for Plutonian process of fermentation. Evidently, frogs and toads have quite the symbolic history. Transformation is not a surprising recurring theme, considering the whole tadpole-to-frog metamorphosis. Toad secretions have been used as both poison and medicine. The Toad has been viewed as auspicious and evil and everything any between, depending on who and when you asked.
Me and my Scorpio can relate. But regardless if they were revered or feared, it seems they credited with powerful magic. Scorpio can still relate.
My astrologer just told me, I AM Mercury touring the Underworld. She suggests I work my Pluto. Maybe my black toad friend came to remind me of that. You think?
Or not. I don’t know. I speak cat fluently, but not Black Toad.
Do animals bring you messages?