A noiseless patient spider, I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated, Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself, Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them. And you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them, Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul. (‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’ – Walt Whitman)
Kent In the midst of life we are in death. (Book of Common Prayer)
The herring gulls came to the towns and cities because it was easier to find food there. The seas were emptying but the land was ever more bountiful.
Old Yew, which graspest at the stones That name the under-lying dead, Thy fibres net the dreamless head, Thy roots are wrapt about the bones. The seasons bring the flower again, And bring the firstling to the flock; And in the dusk of thee, the clock Beats out the little lives of men. (‘In Memoriam A.H.H’. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
It’s an aspect of the modern condition: most of us see more creatures on television than we do in the wild. Beauty and strangeness are translated into waveforms and pixels and then into a simulacrum. Not all of the beauty and strangeness is lost, however, and nor is the sense of relatedness, perhaps even kinship.
There are only two native toad species in Britain and one of these, the Natterjack Toad, is rare, confined mainly to a few coastal sites. So the chances are that if you come across one in the wild it will be a Common Toad.