Toad on a Log, McKeldin Area of Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland, May 2016
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out. But in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “It’s in my nature…”
Fortunately there are no scorpions in the wild in the area where this image was taken. Woods and a rushing river, complete with small rapids, were some few feet away from this patient little creature and from my daughter and I. We were engaged in an afternoon walkabout in the Patapsco Valley. The toad was perched on a log and amazingly still given the commotion of hikers and picnickers in the area.
I do not often see frogs and toads without that Parable of the Scorpion and the Frog passing through my head. It is inseparable from my psyche. Perhaps it is...in my nature.
The toad offered no counsel. Even as I hovered about clicking away with my camera, it held still, silent, seemingly unperturbed. Perhaps that calmness is in its nature; and I must confess, I wish it were in mine.