Wednesday, June 11, 2008

a traveler encountered

The hundred-degree heat shimmered on the pavement and at first I thought it was a breeze-blown leaf bouncing across the road.

Then knowledge set in and reflexes, too. I found myself stopping the car so hard by the side of the road that I almost wrenched the gears.

Before I knew it, I was safely back in my car and only then did I realize that my heart was pounding and that I was feeling great relief to have accomplished my sudden mission.

For in my southward travels down this road at the city's edge, I had met an eastward traveling turtle. Perhaps he would have safely crossed this semi-quiet highway, perhaps not.

I wonder if the scorching hot asphalt was hurting his little feet. Perhaps at least that was encouraging him to hurry. Maybe that accounted for his odd little bouncing gait.

I will always remember the sight of him, kicking his little legs as I picked him up and carried him to a field in the direction that he was going. With a turtle, you must always put him down in the direction that he is going or his little instinct compass will cause him to turn and head right back into danger.

I will remember how quickly, for a turtle, he scrambled away into the grass, and how good I felt that I hadn't talked myself out of helping him.

He was big, for a box turtle. They say these creatures can live to be 100 years old, if they don't get run over or eaten. So this little fellow might be as old or older than I am.

He traveled on to his evening agenda and I to mine.

5 comments:

citizen of the world said...

I'm a turtle rescuer, too, as was my mother before me. I just can't bear to leave them to be hit.

Molly said...

Oh, I like you more for knowing that you stopped to help that gentle creature....We see gopher tortoises all the time down here, and often, near our house, play traffic cop to make sure they make it safely to the other side. It takes so long for them to reach maturity it breaks my heart when I see one dead or injured by the side of the road. This was their habitat long before our houses were built and we should have respect for them....

kat said...

a fellow turtle savior :-) thank you

Trisia said...

It's mostly snails over here, but I understand.

Well done. Now it may grow, have a family, raise little ones and then get run over by a car or eaten :P

Janice Thomson said...

I did not know that about turtles. What a neat thing you did - not many would do that. Kudos to you.