Friday, February 18, 2005

Oh No, Mr. Bill!

The valley where we live is full of critters, from bald eagles down to an interesting selection of mice and voles, and we like to think of our land as being a sanctuary for both us and the critters, so I always try to do the right thing for them, but good intentions don't always lead to good results. The four acre pond at the bottom of our valley is full of painted turtles, which in early summer climb up the hill to bury their eggs in the garden and yard, a remarkable procedure to see, as they dig out a hole, lay their eggs, then fill back in the dirt, mixing it with some secretion which when it dries, leaves no trace of where the hole was dug. Last year I was mowing and spied a baby turtle heading uphill, away from the pond, so I picked him up and took him inside to show my wife. Now there is no sweeter, more loving person than Liz; she loves all of God's creatures, but especially loves turtles, so she was delighted at this tiny hatchling, and oohed and awed over it, as I knew she would. I put the little guy in the sink while I ate lunch, then took it down to the pond, where it would happily live out its life, sunning on the logs with all the other turtles. When I got to the pond there were a few bluegills lolling about, and I thought about it, but they were small, so I set the little turtle down on the shore. He immediately waded in and started swimming straight out into the middle. The bluegills started making passes at him, and I frantically started throwing sticks to scare them off, when a large bass rose up, and SLURP! I stood looking at the now empty pond, then slinked away. I never told Liz; I let her continue to be sweet and hopeful and trusting, loving little kitties and birdies, and especially little turtles.

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