Friday, June 21, 2013

The Turtle Trail

 We had a vistor in the yard the other evening, a painted turtle.
He didn't really like the attention. I have never made turtle soup, so he was in no danger from me.
Painted turtles are so named because they have a beautifully designed underbelly. You can see a bit of orange near his hind leg and see more HERE.
I didn't pick this guy up, as I always did when I was young. He wasn't going to be my pet and he seemed to be on a mission. Instinct was providing him with direction.
From the driveway he cut across country, in this case the country was our lawn, heading for the water.
 I wondered where the turtle had come from.  I wondered if someone had let him go on my driveway, but no one has claimed responsibility. He could have had just wandered away from another shore.
This guy is big, larger than my shoe. He hissed when I would get too close. 
This turtle was not so slow and steady, either. In fact, the hare would certainly have won the race to the water, or anywhere else. He wanted to nap in the grass.
I woke him up by tapping my foot on his back. After a nudge, he would become alert and race off toward the goal once again. 
When I was growing up finding a turtle was like finding a new science project. We would catch him, find a proper home for him, try to provide food and of course, lake water. I remember having one in the sandbox, which was an old tractor tire on the North side of the house. The turtle was usually released at bedtime or would escape by morning. 
The tall grass was an especially good napping place, or was it that he didn't want to walk out into the open again. Could his discovery by humans on the driveway have made him cautious of the open area near the lakeshore? Unfortunately, I don't speak turtle, I'll never know. 
I woke him up one last time and he plodded down to the water. 
The turtle climbed over the rocks. 
 And disappeared into the lake.
I thought that might be the end of the story, but I stood on the shore scanning the water.
 Pretty soon his head popped up.
 Turtles eat insects on or near the water and I hope he feasts on them all Summer long.
Soon the turtle was a speck in the water of GriggsDakota. 

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