Growing up in the country, I'd see toad outside at night all summer long. I love frogs for their relationship to water, but I love toads for their stoic solidity. They were silent and slow companions on my night strolls through our farm.
My family's cottage in Wisconsin, established by my maternal great-grandparents and handed down the generations, is called Toad Hill.
We also have a new friend who haunts our front porch, and swings from our balcony's drainpipe. He's brilliant green, and mesmerizes Olivia, who will perch on the railings, looking hopefully up at him as he hangs out upside down. She seems--for now--to realize jumping for him is impossible, so she prays he will come within reach of her claws.
He is no longer than my thumb.