This summer, as my wife and I took our kids on our annual retreat to Cape Cod, we visited one of our favorite spots, the Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s a part of the Audubon Society’s network of sanctuaries across the state, and it is a really, really wonderful place to spend an afternoon.
A fun spot is this wooden observation dock jutting out into Silver Spring pond, where you can always see a wide variety of critters in the water—birds, turtles, otters, you name it. This summer, we got there right as the tadpoles were sprouting legs, soon to become full-fledged frogs.
The legged tadpoles had gotten really big, and as such, we could easily see them near the surface of the water. They had grown to the point where a lot of the predators that typically dined on them no longer could, a fact underscored when a water snake shot across the lily pads looking to eat any of the numerous frogs and tadpoles in the area. Apparently none of these animals got the memo that the water snake was the diameter of a ballpoint pen, and even with its jaws unhinged could not possibly swallow any of the frogs or tadpoles it was chasing. Hope spreading eternal, especially in the wild.
My kids were especially interested in the changing states of tadpoles and frogs, and as I explained it to them, my son noted how cool it would be to just stay in one of those in-between stages, to be both tadpole and frog. Being a tadpole is cool, I pointed out, but being a frog is even better. When I pointed out that one of those big frogs could have turned around and eaten the water snake that was chasing them, my son got the point. Change isn’t always easy, but when it is done for the right reasons, it is always good.