I have recently been enjoying an online writing course, created by Beth Kempton, called Winter Writing Sanctuary. Technically the course finished early in December, but fortunately, you can complete it at your own pace — which works well for me. One prompt invited us to change our perspective and imagine winter from the perspective of another animal. I was inspired to write about a toad by the toad we saw just outside our apartment in the summer. This is not high literature…but I thought it might bring a smile to some faces on this slightly sad and lonely Christmas. And I hope you have a tasty treat to enjoy this winter.
Toad was hungry. She had already eaten a breakfast of oatmeal, toast, and two slices of berry pie, but her tummy was grumbling. It said : winter is coming.
Toad went out to look for some lunch. The forest was chilly, and the sky was grey. “Not long ’til winter,” she thought.
A great orange pumpkin loomed ahead. Toad stopped to eat a piece. “That’ll do the trick,” she thought. But her tummy grumbled : winter is coming.
Toad smelled a delicious smell. Following her nose, she hopped to the tree of her friend Robin. “Hello down there!” called Robin from his nest. “I’m just taking my worm casserole from the oven. Would you like some?” “Oh yes, please,” said Toad. So Robin flew down with two plates piled high with worm casserole, and a red-and-white checkered tablecloth. He spread it on a toadstool and they shared a delicious lunch. While they ate, Robin told Toad all about the Christmas party that he was planning. Toad was captivated by his description of the sugar cookies he would make, cut into stars and trees and hearts and lined with white icing. “Of course you are invited,” said Robin. But they both knew Toad couldn’t come. She had to hibernate each winter, and would miss the fun.
“Well, Merry Christmas, Robin,” said Toad, feeling a chill in the air. “I should be getting home — winter is coming.”
She was nearly home to the muddy bank when a huge rumbling shook the earth. Hiding under a leaf, Toad watched as two people came up the path. The first was a small child (who of course looked enormous to Toad). She trembled as she watched the yellow rubber boots tromp up : splat, splat, splat! The boots stopped right in front of Toad’s leaf. CRUNCH, CRUNCH. The huge sound came from above. “I wonder what this child is eating,” thought Toad. Her tummy gave another rumble. She curled up smaller under the leaf and hoped the rumbling wouldn’t give her away.
CRASH. Something enormous fell from above, just inches from Toad’s leaf. “Mama, let’s go home and decorate the tree!” called the child. The boots ran away, followed by a pair of larger ones.
Trembling, Toad crept out from under her leaf. Lying on a patch of moss was an enormous star, yellow but light brown underneath, with a white line all around the edge — a sugar cookie, just like Robin had told her about! Toad grasped it in her long fingers and pulled it under an evergreen bush. As she ate the cookie, point by point, a light snow began to fall. “Winter is here,” thought Toad. Her tummy did not grumble anymore. Licking the last crumbs from her lips, she burrowed into the mud to wait for spring.