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.