Bubala, Mumi & Max

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Loving Memory Of Peeky Turtle

Rest In Peace

I was raking leaves a couple of weeks ago. The leaves that fell off the trees last Fall. (We have a lot of trees in our small yard. These things take time.) Anyway, as I was filling up bag after bag with the seemingly never ending supply of crunchy old brown leaves, I thought to myself, "You know... I bet I'll find a turtle in the yard under all of these leaves."

Mind you, I had no reason to be thinking this random turtle thought other than extreme boredom and possibly Oak leaf induced hysteria. You see, our house is in the middle of a suburban neighborhood with no woods or forests around. The closest woods is about a quarter of a mile away. Also, the yard is fenced in on all sides with chain link fence and the neighborhood is surrounded by asphalt roads on all sides. Still, I became convinced that I was going to find a turtle in my yard under all of those dead leaves. And, I did. In a pile of really old leaves, under a bush, I uncovered an Eastern Box Turtle. How completely bizarre.

Peeky Turtle

I decided to name him Peeky Turtle because he was very shy and didn't come out of his shell very much at all. He would just peek his little head out every now and then to sniff the air and assess the situation at hand. I continued to rake up the rest of the leaves, all the while wondering what I should do with my little Peeky Turtle. I thought about taking him to the woods down the way and setting him free there. That's where a turtle belongs, for sure. Then, another part of me figured that if he had somehow made it into this yard, then maybe this is where he belonged.

I kept an eye out for Peeky Turtle over the next few days. He seemed to be moving around the yard just fine. Every day I would come out and find him in another area of the yard. Must be foraging for food, I thought, so I let him be.

Then, one sad evening, I came out to look for Peeky Turtle. I found him on the side of the house, all four of his little turtle legs and his turtle head and neck stretched way out from his shell like I had never seen him before. I knew right away that something was very wrong. Peeky Turtle was just way too shy to be hanging around this far out of his shell.

I picked him up, and he was still alive, but not doing so well. He was limp and very non-responsive. I thought for a second that maybe it was just too cold for him to move around too much and that he would be fine once the sun came back out the next day and warmed his cold-blooded little Testudine body.

I immediately rushed Peeky Turtle off to the nearest woods and set him free. I figured that his best chance of making it through this would be in his natural habitat. Also, if Peeky Turtle was going to die on me, I didn't want to know. I let him go in the woods and told myself that I would never go back and check on him. That way, I could spend the rest of my life thinking that Peeky Turtle had made it though that horrible night. I could believe that he was just fine. Living in the woods, eating earthworms and doing whatever it is that turtles do when no one is around to see them.

But alas, the sun did come out the next day, and it shined down upon on the lifeless body of my very best turtle friend, Peeky Turtle. You see, I didn't keep my promise to myself not to go back and check up on him. The very next morning in fact, I went back to the spot where I had set him free the night before and found his cold, dead little turtle body right there where I had left it.

It made me very sad.

I miss you very much Peeky Turtle.

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