Grace, Grass and Towels #9

June 2009

On this blistering hot day, I celebrated that we once again lived with an operating air compressor.

door and window holes in frame

Door and window holes give us hope for the future.

The framers discovered a turtle in our fire pit area, scared and snapping!

One of the workers sprayed it gently with water to cool it off. With both hands on either side of its shell, using a towel and keeping well away from its snapping head, the worker lifted it quickly into my daughter’s Mega Bloks® red wagon.

turtle in wagon

Turtle takes a ride.

My daughter and I, with one of the workers, rolled the turtle in the wagon to a pond nearby. We tipped the wagon to slide the turtle out without touching it further. We walked back to the street and I requested prayer about the situation. A new experience: praying with someone who doesn’t speak my (earthly) language, yet knowing God understands both our hearts.

2013 update:
We were experiencing an unusually dry summer (2009), and several of the freshwater areas around our neighborhood turned to mud or cracked red clay. I’ve never seen a turtle that big in our neighborhood before or since—but I regret not doing some research on this animal before stepping into its path.

common snapping turtle

Common snapping turtle.

For example, the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is semi-aquatic and the female often travels on land to nest. The snapper burrows in the mud at the bottom of a pond or creek to hibernate in the winter.

Part of the dilemma was protection for the turtle—specifically from dogs that we’ve seen devour smaller wildlife, like rabbits and birds. But after seeing the turtle work in snapping mode, I believe any dog would find a fight and not an easy meal. We could have let it wander towards water at its own pace—but its travel would have included the risks of a settled neighborhood.

For the future, I’ll choose to contact a wildlife specialist trained to help the turtle re-connect with its wild habitat.