On the other side

Cycling along a muddy path covered with fallen leaves and chestnuts, I spotted a toad. Without a second thought I braked hard and swerved around him. He didn’t move at all – something must be wrong with him, I thought. He was frozen in the middle of the road and I noticed that he was injured. As I was hesitating about how to best pick him up, looking for a big leaf perhaps, two pit bulls came rushing towards us and so I just scooped him up with my bare hands. It was my first time holding a toad; he was much less slippery than I had expected. I suspected he had been attacked by a heron, as his right eye was squinting and glazed over a bit. A little acorn had gotten stuck to his belly, but he seemed not to notice. We walked over to the cemetery nearby and released him on the other side of the gate, so that he would be safe from dogs and other predators. Slowly he went on his way, carrying soft words of solace and hope.

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