Critters Places

The snooty turtle

I almost missed the daffodils at Shaw this year. I even thought I might give them a pass, but the weather was good and I needed a walk, so there I was, in the field with the flowers.

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Yes, daffodils here, daffodils there, but not as many as last year, and not as many as the year before. It might be my imagination, but there aren’t as many flowers this year, same as there weren’t as many falling leaves last fall.

I suspect we should value the ones we have more, than. Instead we look at the fields in disappointment, muttering to ourselves, “That’s it, then, is it? A few scrawny blooms? Could have done better with the picture on a packet of seed. Where are all the bloody daffodils?”

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But that’s not what this is about. Enough with the brazen flowers, I don’t want to talk about flowers, I’ve talked about flowers. And yes, even done the daffodil poem–you know the one. Clouds and stuff. No, today I want to introduce you to my turtle.

You see, the great thing about visiting Shaw throughout the year is that each time a different animal has its time in the sun.

There are the frogs, of course; the famous frogs you can’t see but you can hear by the great noise they make. And mustn’t forget the bumblebee and the butterfly, as they contend for the prize: the last golden flower in the field.

You have to walk far, part with a tiny sacrifice of flesh and blood for the insect life on the way, but I should mention the beaver, as it slips quietly through the mud for a bit of twig and stem. There was also the time with the baby snake I thought was a rattler but was something tiny and harmless, and scared to death of the big, ugly things hovering over it.

Birds, always birds, of course, and this trip was no different–especially this happy fellow, a mockinbird in a tree. I have a fondness for mockingbirds; they are the ultimate copyright thieves and I’ve long been amazed at the fact they’ve not been adopted as mascot of the movement.

But this trip was for the turtles. I’d seen turtles before, but from a distance and only one or two. Yesterday, however, the turtles were out on the cypress logs and stumps and roots in the water — big fellows, a foot or more across. Unfortunately, though, I could only catch brief glimpses, as they would dive into the water when I approached.

Except for one, my turtle. I found it sunning itself out on the remains of a cypress in the lake itself. I crept closer, closer, closer, and still it stayed. I even wondered if it had eggs and that’s why it wouldn’t leave, but I think the reason is, it just didn’t want to. I pulled out my long lens and took several pictures, not really able to see the turtle’s face through the lens. In fact I didn’t see the turtle’s face until I got home and loaded the photo into Photoshop.

Did you ever see a snootier turtle in your life? I have seen many photos of turtles, and they are a smug creature indeed, but none filled with such obvious disdain of the antics of lesser creatures. Now I know where the flowers are gone — I’m sure it ate them. Probably sat there and thought to itself with each crunchy bite, “HaHa stupid humans coming out for flowers. HaHa! *mumph* This is good! Tasty! HaHa, dumb humans. Now all they see is my poop.”

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I took as many photos from as many angles as I could of the turtle before finishing my walk around the lake. At the end, amidst a group of trees was a great splashing and ripple of movement as what must have been hundreds of young turtles swimming for deeper water.

Well, I’m sure there were dozens of young turtles.

Five or six, I’m positive.

One, at least. Oh, yes, I am confident of one.

Or, maybe it was a fish?

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