Every June, when we get our first really rainy day, the box turtles get on the move. Males are looking for females. Females are looking for males and for places to dig their nests.
As I lay awake last night, listening to the rain spattering onto the hosta leaves outside my bedroom window, I knew I'd be seeing turtles on the way into work in the morning. And sure enough, I was right.
I saw five box turtles total and saved four of them. One met the fate that so many of these slow, gentle creatures meet each June--smashed by the tires of a passing vehicle. I won't share that image with you.
Here are two of the turtles I saved, one (the yellow one) a female, the other, a dark, old male. Box turtles can live a very long time and these two might even predate the asphalt-covered county road I was on today. I imagine how, for an old survivor, crossing a busy highway or even a well-traveled country road, is like playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later their luck is going to run out.
I try to stop to help each turtle that I see. Sometimes I'm too late. Sometimes, while I'm waiting for traffic to pass, I have to sit and watch in anguish as the turtle gets hit. And yet, when I help them safely on their way, it gives me a a small measure of satisfaction for a deed well done.
It felt good to help four turtles across the road today.
I think I needed it as much as they did.