A Calico Pond

In my haste and excitement upon encountering this pretty pond view coming around a bend, I ran over a turtle just as Dapper G was crying, “Look out!” I was crying, “Look at that!”It was too late though. But when I see turtles,  I am reminded of John Steinbeck’s incredible intercalary Chapter 3 of The Grapes of Wrath:

Now the going was easy, and all the legs worked, and the shell boosted along, waggling from side to side. A sedan driven by a forty-year-old woman approached, She saw the turtle and swung to the right, off the highway, the wheels screamed and a cloud of dust boiled up. Two wheels lifted for a moment and then settled. The car skidded back onto the road, and went on, but more slowly. The turtle had jerked into its shell, but now it hurried on, for the highway was burning hot.

And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it. His front wheel struck the edge of the shell, flipped the turtle like a tiddly-wink, spun it like a coin, and rolled it off the highway. The truck went back to its course along the right side. Lying on its back, the turtle was tight in its shell for a long time. But at last its legs waved in the air, reaching for something to pull it over. Its front foot caught a piece of quartz and little by little the shell pulled over and flopped upright. The wild oat head fell out and three of the spearhead seeds stuck in the ground. And as the turtle crawled on down the embankment, its shell dragged dirt over the seeds. The turtle entered a dust road and jerked itself along, drawing a wavy shallow trench in the dust with its shell. The old humorous eyes looked ahead, and the horny beak opened a little. His yellow toe nails slipped a fraction in the dust.

I felt badly about not having seen him.

Daily Gratitude: sunshine and blue sky

© Teresita Abad Doebley All rights reserved 2009-2011.


7 thoughts on “A Calico Pond

  1. I understand about the turtle–such mishaps are hard to deal with after the fact. I hit a turtle once too–if I had swerved, I would have hit an oncoming truck–but in that split second I thought about it. Great photo! And I love the turtle quote. They do just keep on moving forward–good lesson there.

  2. I think we can safely say, It’s not easy being a turtle. I know that feeling of hitting a critter. When I moved here I hit two birds. They were Red Tail Halks. These birds mate for life. I hit one at the beginning of the week then the mate at the end of the week. I have never hit a bird in my life until then

  3. Sad about the turtle, but wonderful post. When we drove through Lexington this summer, we accidentally killed a duck that was crossing the street. It was so sad.

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