Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Twenty-two tiny turtles
Exactly as it was meant to be.
I took Biscuit out for a walk at about 5:30 yesterday afternoon. It was just starting toward evening, with the sun done with its work for the day and darkness just starting to come on. We came upon one very tiny turtle, just hatched, marching across our street and headed toward the river.
I'd been watching, recently, for turtles. We'd seen one back in the spring, laying its eggs, and we've rescued other hatchlings on other fall days from other spring layings. You'd think it would be easy enough to see a turtle crossing the road, but they are incredibly easy to overlook.
I ended up having an experience that would have looked cliched in a movie. First, one turtle. I picked him up gently and moved him forward in his journey, onto the grass headed toward the river and off the road. Walking a little further, I found another. A few more steps, and another. Suddenly, it was as though they were materializing right out of the macadam; I found myself surrounded by turtles. Twenty-two in all. All alive, all rescued off the road.
After making sure I'd gotten them all before any neighbors drove home, I went back to get Dean. He's at the age of being able to beg the question and know the answer -- "can't I keep just one?" and "these belong in the wild." We marveled at the reality that, even given the vast difference in the size of the turtle's brain and the size of our brains, that turtle possesses the knowledge, the instinct to know exactly what to do to survive, while we have no idea how to appropriately care for a turtle to ensure survival.
I wondered if the turtle we'd watched lay her eggs could have been responsible for these babies, but Dean artfully pointed out that we were talking about two different species. Oh yeah. That.
Dean named one Toby, set it down with some mates, and wished them all safe passage. As long as we don't find any dead on the road, I'll be so thrilled.