Imagine being able to completely change your body; change its shape, its colour, its size, the manner of its mobility. Not only that, imagine what a challenge it would be to become an air breather after previously getting oxygen through gills – to change to a frog from a tadpole.
This is the wonderful world of amphibians. You may recall some weeks back, we rescued some tadpoles from a rapidly drying drainage pond. It’s not the first time we’ve mounted such a rescue mission. But the latest rescue was by far, the greatest in terms of numbers, resulting in hundreds of tadpoles to care for until metamorphosis. We shared the task between three households.
This short post is an update.
Over the weeks, It’s become clear the tadpoles are a diverse lot. Some morphed into froglets quite rapidly and climbed up the sides of the pond to disappear into the undergrowth, turning from black to green, gold or mottled brown, absorbing their tails in the process. They were not the largest of the tads, which I wrongly imagined would mature first. We discovered among them were Ornate Burrowing Frogs (Opisthodon ornatus) which morph quickly as the water source dries up to burrow into the soil. They were followed by other species like the Short-footed Frog (Cyclorana brevipes) and various kinds of tree frog common to my area.
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
I watched fascinated as the changes took place as reliably as day turning to night. Some tadpoles died and didn’t make it. The only possible way to avoid metamorphosis it seems. Though change they eventually would, just in another way, as they returned to the earth. Others morphed slowly, or rapidly, according to their genetic code. But all changed nevertheless, following some great plan which works in perpetuum in the background.
Why is it then that many of us have such conflicting expectations of change?
How often I have thought: if I can just get through this, or that, everything will be smooth sailing; as if somehow change weren’t a constant in our lives, as if change arrived as an unexpected and not entirely welcome visitor, differing only in terms of its frequency and magnitude.
Far more sensible would be to walk out and meet Change on the road, greet it as one would a familiar, embracing it warmly, saying: ‘Welcome! I was expecting you’. What a difference that approach could make to my relationship with change.
After all, l only need to look at Nature to see change for the (constant) teacher it is.