This looks a bit like an ‘identify the picture’ game. It is, of course, our week-old tadpoles that are just beginning to wriggle in their tub on the windowsill. We have a pond that the newts love, because they can feast on the frog tadpoles that emerge from the spawn. So each year, we scoop up some spawn and raise it to mini-jumping-frog stage indoors (well, they are the only pets we have).
The spawn in the pond – same vintage – is still at the ‘egg’ stage. When we first started doing this, we prided ourselves that we had quick developers who would get a head start and make the most of the summer months to grow robust. But they came to a sort of standstill soon after getting front legs. Week after week went by, and they were quite happy but still very adolescent. The slow developers and survivors in the pond, meanwhile, were fewer in number, but were steadily becoming quadrupeds.
Eventually, the indoor softie tadpoles were real frogs, and we released them with a sigh into the big wide world, just as the pond ones were hopping away as well. We may have increased the number of froglets who lived to tell their tale, but we didn’t speed up their development into adults.
I know this is not a parable, and I will not use it in a homily for fear of ridicule, but it does make you think …