Walking around my neighborhood last summer, I regularly noticed many strangely flattened shapes along the road. Upon closer inspection, these shapes turned out to be toads that were run over by cars. One day, while standing in one spot, I counted four toads that had been run over within a small radius of where I stood.
When I describe my “neighborhood”, it is important to know that I do not live along a highway or even a regular street but an apartment complex. My apartment complex, and the surrounding four shopping centers and medical complex, were not here as little as ten years ago. Behind my apartments are a creek and greenway where it is typical to see many birds, groundhogs, deer, raccoons, and (very recently) an otter. Not very long ago, where I live was a very rural area that has turned into a massive suburban sprawl.
I found myself needing to record the demise of these creatures. Art is not always a comfortable, beautiful subject. It is also meant to shake people up a bit. Though I photographed many toads, I decided that less is more so I am presenting just two images in tribute to these fine creatures we have displaced.
2 thoughts on “Over Development”
A beautiful post, Diane. I love your empathy for these creatures. The older I get, the more kinship I feel with non-human life. Roadkills are especially poignant for me, because I drive a bezilion miles to work, see a lot of them, and have unfortunately had my share. When possible, I try to do turtle rescue. Your post reminds me of the devastating last line of Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (the basis of the Bladerunner films, but so much better than either, IMO). In a world devastated by nuclear war, where almost all animals have been wiped out and have been replaced by robots, to own a real live animal is the supreme luxury. At the conclusion, in a desolate area of Oregon, the hero Dekker believes he has found a real toad (an animal thought to be extinct) and brings it home; it is his one ray of hope. Alas, it too is revealed to be a robot, and as Dekker sinks into despondency, his wife coldly (making you wonder about her) says, “He really loved that toad.”
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Thanks Anders for this very insightful and relevant comment.