Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A turtle story

The weather yesterday was glorious. So glorious I ditched work and took Delilah, my ornery sprite of a mare, out on the trail. The trail winds up through the woods, then spits you out onto a bald with a beautiful view of the valley and bluebird sky. My industrious husband built most of this trail with his own hands and a mattock, connecting and smoothing out old cattle trails so we would have several miles of stomping ground for horses and hikers.

There's a point at which the trail crosses an old log road and we often hoof it up the road to the blackberry patch on top (not producing now, but the hill-pull is a good workout for field potato horses). About halfway up, we encounter a few low-hanging branches and as I'm about to maneuver around them, I look down and see a turtle. About the size of a cereal bowl. Head extended, legs out, surveying the scenery with no fear, even as two giant creatures loom over him. I hop off to move him off the road lest my prancy, go-her-own-way steed trip over him on our way back down. As I reach down to move him, I see another turtle about 3 feet away on its back, head and feet tucked inside its shell. Weird. I place turtle #1 by a log on the side of the road. Then I lift turtle #2 and find him pleasantly heavy, hopefully indicating that life is still in him. I right him and place him by turtle #1. A little taken aback by the fearless turtle and the supine turtle in such close proximity to one another, I survey the road. Lo and behold, I spot yet another turtle a few feet away, also supine, legs and head drawn in. I glance up the steep bank on the side of the road. Perhaps they were all three racing down the hill and got going so fast, two of them rolled and landed feet up. Can turtles right themselves? Maybe two were so tired from their race, they decided to nap on their backs. Maybe there's a mountain lion in the woods stalking me now that was previously playing "roll the turtle." I gently lifted turtle #3, also heavy, and placed her (just to be fair to their unknown genders) next to #1 and #2. I look around and, seeing no other turtles to rescue, hop back on Delilah. We continue up the hill and roam around for a few minutes on top. When I can't stand it any longer, we head back down and find...

ONE TURTLE! Original turtle! Turtle #1! Head out, legs out, one red eye just looking at me as we stop to look at him. Turtles #2 and #3 are gone! I shout my incredulity and scare Delilah. Then I take one last look, scan the immediate vicinity for mountain lions, and we move on down the hill.