Tadpoles Born in a Puddle

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Being born in a puddle is a hopeless situation, but it does have a sliver of hope that makes the despair all the more palpable. If things did go well and it rained every day, the tadpoles could survive. They could grow their legs and hop right out, if only they had the time. But the world is not so kind. It does not care. It does not move to save them. It continues as it does despite their birth, their life, their lamentation, and their death. One has to wonder what it would be like for them seeing their would disappear around them as their death by sunshine approaches. Their mother was grossly negligent to bring them into such a life and the world did them no favors.

This is a comic I made as reference to one of my poems. It is quite common for tadpoles to be born into vernal pools that exist only for the wet season of the spring and then dry in the heat of summer, but this image takes that a bit further. Tadpoles born into those pools are actually expected to be able survive and function normally and it is only when things go particularly wrong and the season is abnormally dry that their pool will disappear before they are matured and ready to leave on their own. This situation of being born into a puddle on the side of the road, however, is far more hopeless and dire. Things would have to go particularly right and in their favor for them to have a chance. Indeed, ignoring the fact that food would be scarce and there would be no place to hide from predators, it would have to rain often for to puddle to maintain its size and not dry up on them.

A quick google search of “tadpole born in a puddle” brought me to an excerpt by William Makepeace Thackery Who seemed to be treating the concept quite differently and wrote lines like, “When summer comes, and the puddle gets dry/ Why, my good friends, when our fun is all over,/ Is it not better for tadpoles to die?” This image has many things going for it that I will perhaps touch upon in another discussion if it sticks in my head, but it is not the themes I had in mind for it. His image was more of a rather dirty vernal pool that will dry come summer, whereas this is just a puddle on the side of the road. With their attitude of not wanting to become a toad, I wonder if his tadpole even would have wanted to leave their pool if they had grown to maturity before it dried or if they would have stayed and wept where it was, or perhaps if their death as a tadpole was just them growing into a toad in the first place. Just searching “born in a puddle” gives a more interesting result of refugees, a story I had never heard of until googling and writing this aside that this is not intended to reflect but seems to have some accidental parallels.

I feel this comic does barely enough to capture the themes I had in mind, but I do wish that I had the artistic talent beyond that of the average ungifted fifth grader to do it justice.

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