MISSION ACCOMPLISHED-Another Turtle Doesn’t Bite the Dust
I awoke very early this morning and found a message about my recent Blog post “Do You Think This Is A Joy Ride?” This message struck me as being simple, pure and genuine in that its author recognized the deeply convicted spiritual nature of my message and intent. So I decided not to go back to bed and write a response; even though it was only 2:30 AM, and I certainly needed to so I could get some urgently needed sleep, as I had been sleep deprived the last couple of days. No, instead I stayed up and opened up, which I tend not to do especially online, about very deeply held personal challenges or struggles! I was as a child a fairly open and very friendly lad, what one of my uncles whose name is Gus, referred to me as, “a happy go lucky kid!” And I stayed that way true to my nature into adulthood, until more recent years when I was challenged by the cruel and ugly side of the world and some people that love being nefarious or even wicked, whether out of bitterness, worldly conformity, selfishness, jealousy, pure hatred of those they can’t understand, agendas or even at times pure evil; I became a target of such. Maybe because as some would say I stood out in the crowd or was too loud and vocal about things I shouldn’t be, but as I saw it, if it involves me and the things that matter, damn straight I’m going to voice my opinion or stand up for my rights!
So, after writing a lengthy reply comment, I was too awake to just jump back into bed and instead talked to my dog that by now had shown interest in my own activity and problem which she now had too, of not being able to sleep like we should be. But, after a little play, talking and hugging I thought it was about time to try hitting the hay again, so off to bed. I went out like a light and started dreaming about talking to some lady and having feelings in the dream of something being imperative and I could see how I was motivated to get moving and do something; even though I didn’t know what! I awoke again after sleeping barely an hour more and noticed how it wasn’t looking bright around the shaded window like it typically does at this time of morning; being just past sunrise. I thought how if I would be taking my dog Penny for her walk we were going to have to do it very early before the sun is much up over the horizon, as it was supposed to be a hot day and major thunder storms are expected later today as I write this. At that point I was so tired I thought maybe we can be lazy on Saturday and sleep in for a few hours! And that way I could get much more rest and not feel so beat up, and that later maybe the clouds would be thick enough that the sun won’t be so intense, making for a somewhat comfortable walk for Penny. That’s because she is getting up in years and I don’t want to stress her in the high about 90 degree temperature with the humidity at saturation levels making it more like South East Asia around here.
But, then that imperative feeling came back which was definitely compelling me to jump up now and take the walk early as we had done for previous mornings. So the mission began; which I had no idea was in play other than that imperative feeling of “get going,” and we were now off and out the door heading down the road we usually take that leads down along the water’s edge of a cove nearby my home, when that’s the path we decide to follow out of the several we use to keep things interesting. As we walked along we seemed to be more interested in taking a more direct least encumbered path to a destination we usually end up at one way or the other and then sit for a spell, watching the ducks, geese and occasionally the swans that are just out in the cove just off and very near the shores edge. Our walk became more brisk as I had noticed the sun and it’s full effect was starting to break through the heavy cloud and fog canopy overhead and the humidity was making me feel wringing wet, so I could only imagine how Penny would feel by the time we were on our way back home, especially if the clouds cleared completely! So even though I had let her off the leash for a stretch which usually causes her to walk just ahead of me like the leader of the pack, she was now falling behind a bit and so I clipped the leash back onto her harness so I could keep us moving briskly in order to make our trip to the water sooner rather than later, in order to sit and rest then hurry back to the AC and some ice water! Suddenly as we were in the general vicinity of where we will turn down another road to walk straight to the cove, as we were approaching this long dirt driveway that runs off into some nearby woods Penny stalled and got agitated about something, it seemed she was looking in the wooded area and stopped dead in her tracks and wouldn’t move even though I tried to get her going. This was something she hadn’t done before especially in that particular location, so I eased up and tried to let her investigate a bit to see if she could show me what was going on that attracted her attention so much. Nothing, I couldn’t see anything in the woods, which I figured had to be what was diverting her, maybe some animal sitting still or just behind some trees, but I’ll never know it seems because then she suddenly started heading in the usual direction we needed to go. But then, we hardly walked another hundred feet and came to a short paved driveway where a woman was just walking around the back of her car and trying to get a closer look at something very small lumbering or trudging along going under the car. Then I could see what it was, a baby snapping turtle, which it turns out that if I had come along a half a moment sooner or later; I would not have seen this little turtle today! This immediately brought back my memory of how I once rescued one the same size in the capital city near a highway construction site by a nearby river. Back then I was driving a cement mixer to pour new concrete mix for a bridge column and had just after the pour noticed something moving in the dust of the all dirt access road leading into the site. I pulled over to the side and put on the air brakes and jumped down to investigate more closely, and that was the first time I rescued a baby snapping turtle, which I placed into my shirt pocket until I got back to the company property and parked the truck.
That turned out to be a long ordeal for both me and the baby snapping turtle that never would have made it in the location where I found it aimlessly wandering to its death. It was late fall and I brought that turtle to a lake a few towns over a couple of days later and placed it near the edge of the water expecting it to scurry in like a bolt of lightning but to my surprise it didn’t move at all and then turned back toward me. Then I thought, what is up with you little guy all these Lilly pads and a huge lake with all sorts of interesting wild coastline with plants to nibble on and with winter coming a nice muddy bottom for you to bury yourself and hibernate through the winter and you want nothing to do with it? I could have left you where I found you I thought and you would be a goner already; so now what? OK, I thought, I guess I found you and now it’s my responsibility to do right by you; so you want to winter in with a human being and take the easy route or path for some reason, maybe you even realize instinctively that some big mouth bass will swallow you whole here! Lucky you I thought, how you had me out of all the guys that work around that site to notice you in time and put you in my pocket; all those other guys some I know and many I don’t I’m sure they either wouldn’t have noticed or if they did the last thing they would have done is put you in their shirt pocket, but more likely you would have been mashed under 40 tons of rubber and metal.
So, that turtle got back home with me to spend the entire winter with in a nice fish aquarium that I converted into a terrarium or turtle like habitat, months later in early spring after he had grown into a nice size juvenile yearling reptilian creature, I drove to a major state preserve to the site of an old ancient battle ground by much swampy land for his release! I have to admit I did get a bit attached to this bugger that winter and I had many a talk with him or her, never tried to find out which, but now the moment of truth was arriving as I had to first park my Jeep on a fire access road and hike in a couple of miles to where I decided he would spend his life far away from that capital city and all the man-made world with all of its machinery and foreboding activity. Yes, after all of our time together I wasn’t about to throw caution to the wind and say see ya later alligator, well OK, Turtle, and dump him at the most convenient place for me, NO NO, it had to be the most special place I could imagine were this special turtle would live a life of Greatness with other turtles hopefully, in a very primitive and wild area far removed from people, even me, although I had parting words for him about that point. When I got to the water’s edge of the swamp and like that time many months prior placed him on the shore, but just before I did I said, OK this is your new beginning and I hope and pray you will love it here living a very long life that turtles like you usually do! And then, I went on to say that one day in the future I will remember you and take a hike back to this very spot and look for you to say hello again, but until then just remember our time together at my home and know that I love you and want you to be happy! Then, this time as I did place him there by the edge of the water he without any hesitation darted with speed I never had seen this turtle display, right into the water with a plop and there he went straight down about four feet to the muddy bottom and got right to burying himself to hide from the prying eyes of the world. Never knew turtles could be that shy, or maybe I had talked too much all those months and this turtle wanted out big time, it figured, wow crazy people! I said again goodbye, and left that place, and haven’t been back since. That turtle in his shell in that moment of truth got me thinking how I was really kind of shy behind my thick head and big mouth too!
Now all these years later, here I am with one of his kind again, which is sitting in the same tank terrarium that I’ve kept tucked away in my home; while I now think over how I will handle this rescued turtle. They live many decades and that first one may now be in its prime or beginning to get old and might want some company! Another, “Mission Accomplished!”