Sometimes I think I get a bit too Hello-clouds-hello-sky-robins-and-roses about nature, especially at this time of year. The perfect antidote to this is toad-spawning time. I seem to remember I did quite a sweet little poem and picture about this a while back, but frankly, it's fairly vile. Someone on a blog somewhere expressed this kind of thing as 'miserable ecstasy', which describes pretty well the toads' approach to the matter. The couple above look quite happy, but it gets worse.
I could cope with the multiple partners, it's the necrophilia that turns me up. One gets the impression that the big old females use most of their remaining energy just getting to the pond, and the final spasm of mating and spawning finishes them off. The males don't seem to notice.
I can't believe I'm posting this. And this is supposed to be a pretty blog. Lovely toad-phobic sister will probably never read again.
The title quote is from 'Troilus and Cressida'. "I do hate a proud man, as I hate the engendering of toads" says Ajax, the proud and stupid bully. Evidently the spectacle had made an impression on Shakespeare at some point. For some reason the line stayed in my mind. I set out to read my way through the canon in my 17th year, and did fairly well, though I stalled when I got to 'Titus Andronicus', speaking of gross-out experiences. Ned Sherrin, I think, told an anecdote about going to an inevitably unsparing performance of that play at Stratford, and overhearing a husband saying to his wife on the way out 'Now all we need is to find the dog's been sick in the car.'
Anyway, I promise to post something tasteful very soon.