If you wanted to know what kind of person I am—what I like to do, what sorts of things I value—I would tell you this: I am the sort of person who has a favorite puddle. My puddle isn’t truly a puddle, I suppose, in that it is not self-contained, with no inflow or outflow. Despite this, I still think of it as a puddle. It is shallow, and lies along a Yellowstone roadside, and is fed by runoff from springs, hot and cold, in a nearby meadow.
I don’t want to say precisely where my puddle is, as my puddle is special: it is home, each spring, to hundreds of tadpoles. Most of them are young boreal toads. A few are spotted frogs. I can tell the difference by color: the boreal toad tadpoles (I think of them as toadpoles) are nearly black, while the spotted frogs-to-be are a lighter brown, flecked with gold. Read more