…my true love gave to me,
Three turtles crossing.
That first mama snapper? She was big and black and dinosaur-like, but kind of boring. She lumbered up into the yard one morning, checked out our puddles, bulldozed through my freshly-planted bed of onions, then lumbered back off to the lake, without so much as doing us the courtesy of letting us watch her lay eggs.
The second painted turtle was mostly rather cross about being herded out of the way for departing Wednesday night Bible study traffic.
I’d like you to notice, however, that I switched to the traditional line “true love” for today, because the little snapper in the third photo was, literally, given to me by my true love. She was handed to me by my husband after being saved from certain doom on a busy highway, because I was in the passenger seat and he was not, and driving a vehicle while holding a snapping turtle is not necessarily recommended in the books. In hindsight, I’m really not sure why we didn’t just switch places so I could drive while he held the turtle, but he says he thought it would be good for me to brush up on my turtle handling skills, and I suppose he was right.
This was after a failed experiment of containing the creature in the only container we could find in the car, a (breathable) shopping bag, from which she escaped and was temporarily lost under the driver’s seat. If you’ve never had a snapping turtle loose in your vehicle, you are really missing out, by the way. It’s very exciting, and you will discover what you always wanted to know, which is how nimble people actually are at tucking their feet up. It will also leave all occupants vowing to always keep A Proper Turtle Container in the trunk for future such emergencies.
So there was nothing to do but hold her, and I took lots of one-handed photos while she intermittently fought my grip on her shell with her powerful webbed feet, and hung submissively, eyeing me closely.
“She either likes you or she doesn’t,” Zach observed helpfully. Then, as if to settle the question, she stretched out her neck very long and arched it menacingly back toward my hand, and I raised my eyebrows and said firmly, “DOESN’T,” followed with some urgency by, “Are we there [at a safe turtle launching point] yet?!?!”
“Hold on,” he said encouragingly, “We’re almost there.” This was true, and I must say that I was relieved to hand her over to his much more capable hands when we arrived.
But seriously? Encounters with wildlife, even when they’re just a tiny bit too close for comfort, are one big reason why I love these summer months, right along with the rest of my family. Each creature, in all the glory of their splendid masterful design, armored shells, powerful beaks, elastic wrinkles, inquisitive intelligent eyes, brings praise to their Creator as they move and breathe and go on that annual search for the perfect place to lay some eggs.
If we can help them out a bit, and get close up looks in the process, we consider it an honor.
“My mouth will declare the praise of the LORD; let every creature bless His holy name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145:21)