Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tiny Box Turtle

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I see I have posted this without explanation. Accidents happen. I had gone to toss some stuff in the compost pile and bent over to pick something when I saw this tiny box turtle hustling along in the leaf litter. I picked him up rejoicing at my luck in finding such a fine tiny specimen. I put some soil in a pan and tossed some dead leaves on top and put it in. I never envisioned keeping it for long as I am not confident in my ability to procure all the things a tiny box turtle needs to grow up into a happy healthy adult. I sprayed the soil and leaves with water each day and found a couple earthworms and a pill bug for food. I wanted to keep it till Hiram got home to see it. Today we took it to the edge of the woods and released it in an old rotted fallen tree. It quickly disappeared into the matrix without so much as a wave goodbye. It was amazing how easily that turtle could hide itself in the soil in the pan. Once I had to plow through the whole pan to unearth it.
The main thing here is that I feel so lucky to have made that baby box turtle's acquaintance. It reminded me that the world is moving, changing, and growing right under my feet with a total disregard for me. Mama turtle deposited her egg and went off about her own business, trusting the laws of nature to nurture an offspring that she could not. With one step I might have crushed the life out of the baby and never even known it.But the baby turtle knows its business, too, and it knows what to eat and where to find its food and how to drink water from a droplet held in the curl of a leaf. It knows how to hide from predators and keep out of view till it is big enough to foil most of its predators by closing up shop. Unfortunately this technique does not work well with cars which seem to be the main predator of box turtles. I do what I can by removing them from the road when I see them and keeping on the lookout when I am mowing grass. In the end I would say turtles are pretty intelligent. They know how to prosper in a world that I cannot even flesh out in dreams. Goodbye and goodnight, baby turtle, as you rest tonight in the soil and leaf litter of what used to be a tall beautiful tree. Live long and prosper. Recycling is the name of the game.

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