Sunday, June 12, 2005


The older I get, and the more that happens to me, the more sentimental I become. When I was nineteen, I was tough as nails. Now I cry at commercials.

We went out to dinner tonight and on our way, we saw a turtle in the middle of the road, crossing. We didn't stop, but I fretted. (And as it turned out, so did Bob.) When we were driving home again, it was at the side of the road, but had apparently turned around and was considering coming back across. This was an hour, hour-and-a-half after we'd first seen it, and I was astonished and relieved it was still alive. "Turn around!" I said. "We've got to turn around!"

"Oh good," Bob said. "I hope it isn't hit. I hope we don't get hit." Two cars had passed in the time it took us to find a place to turn around. There was something on the road, and for a moment both of us thought we were too late, but there, a little farther up, was our turtle, head stretched up as it tried to peer over the curb.

"Grab it and throw it in the pond," Bob said.

"Just throw it?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, halting the car and putting on the flashers. It's an industrial area and there is no shoulder. Here, between buildings was just open land and a small pond and green. I hesitated a moment, wondering if it was a snapping turtle. The turtle, far more frightened of me, had decided to flee and finally climbed the curb. I picked it up by both sides, it was only about eight inches from front of shell to back, and flung it in the pond, then leapt back in the car.

We were both inordinately pleased with ourselves. For all I know, it will crawl out of the pond and head for the road again. But at least we did something to try to keep i t from harm. The world is a big place. I eat meat. Much suffering will happen, some of it I will bear some responsibility for. But hopefully, not for this turtle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

if everyone would just stop and help one turtle (or lost dog, or broken down car, or sad person etc), this world would be a much different place. thanks for doing your part.

June 13, 2005 3:21 AM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

I must be pretty sentimental at the moment myself, because I got all teary at the end of this post and somehow I remember it all as a poem and not a journal entry.

June 13, 2005 5:23 AM  
Blogger David Moles said...

You just passed your Voight-Kampff!

June 13, 2005 11:29 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Oh, I'm glad you went back. I'll be the turtle--somewhere in its turtle-ish mind--is glad too.

For what it's worth, I'm getting to be more sentimental (family term: mushy) with every day.

June 13, 2005 11:38 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

I recently tossed an earthworm from the middle of the street into the grass. Maybe it'll become food for a rescued turtle one day.

June 13, 2005 10:04 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Does that mean Ted passed his Voight-Kampff?

June 15, 2005 12:47 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Hey, I'd rescue a turtle if I could, but all we get around here are earthworms.

June 15, 2005 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trick I learned from a fellow turtle saver: If it might be a snapping turtle, pick it up by the base of the tail, not the shell. A snapper's neck is dangerously longer than it seems, but its tail is strong enough to lift it without harm. My fingers wish I'd learned a moment earlier.

June 15, 2005 4:54 PM  
Blogger Responsible Artist said...

I saw a turtle crossing once and could not safely stop. My children were in the car and still remember. We believe it was safe because we looked across the road for smears on the way back and saw nothing.

I think Bob should make an "If Everyone Would Just Stop And Help One Turtle" shirt.

June 16, 2005 6:27 AM  
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October 05, 2005 3:27 PM  
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October 06, 2005 2:13 AM  

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