Toads aren't often seen in broad daylight, especially just outside the gym, which is in a strip mall, so I figured this toad was looking and waiting specifically for me because he was an enchanted toad who with a kiss would turn into a handsome prince just my age, with no baggage, who shares my interests. I was game, why not, and bent down and said "Hello, little guy," and put my hand out so he could hop into it, but he hopped away, saying nothing. I tried a second time. He hopped again, toward the puddle of water in the parking lot. I pursued him with the camera. Finally he turned to me and said, "I'm a girl." She's a Bufo americanus americanus Holbrook, an Eastern American toad, found in every county in Missouri.
Oh, I said, disappointed.
That was Friday. On Saturday, clinging to the siding just outside my kitchen door making his annual appeal (often sticking to the kitchen screen door for several days), the Walking Stick appeared, trim and debonair as always, this time matching himself to the paint trim. Every year I politely refuse his proposal, telling him he's very attractive and a great guy but we are not a match.