Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I was doing something or other in the house today when Paul came rushing in from his study and said, You've got to come outside, there's a turtle in the pond! To my astonishment, there was a very young box turtle in there, about the size of a red delicious apple, swimming around. A few weeks ago I stopped and rescued one from the middle of Old Stone Highway, and a bit later Paul found a large one way back in our garden, at the base of a large oak tree -- but I had never seen one in the water. I thought maybe he'd slipped in and couldn't get out, so after some discussion I bent down and picked him up. He was completely unfazed, and didn't even withdraw his head and legs into his shell. I set him down on the grass; he turned around back toward the pond,
and jumped in! Very clear what he wanted. He spent the morning swimming, yellow and tobacco-brown shell poking up above the water, his small head held high, then hiding under a shady lip of rock at the edge, dog-paddling a little in place. I built a stairway of stones on the water's edge, as there's no simple way out for a creature that small. This afternoon, when we came back from the gym, he was gone. I would like to have seen him climb the stairs.


Howard C. Rubin said...

Hi Mark,

The turtle is the "genius" of your pond. How great. Turtles can be notoriously single minded-- one of my favorite parts of "Grapes of Wrath" is about a turtle trying to cross the road. Think BIG METAPHOR. I recall Mercy on Broadway in "Sweet Machine," as well. Surviving and thriving.

Mark said...

You're lucky to find a small (probably immature) box turtle. It's a sign that there's a breeding population in your area, something that's becoming increasingly rare.

Mehnaz Turner said...

I enjoyed reading this and appreciate how you title this entry "visitor." Visitor indeed.

Niel said...

I like how your partner continually comes to you exclaiming, "Look! there's a____ in the yard!"