August 29, 2011
Today, Alex & I went for a walk down Grand Street. After being cooped up for a few days due to Hurrican Irene we needed to get out in the sun. On the way back Alex spotted a baby turtle in the middle of the road. It was most likely a casualty from the complete washouts and floodings of all the creeks surrounding the area. It was smack in the middle of the road, frying in the sun, & not moving. Not to be gross but it reminded me of those frogs or salamanders that tried to make it across the road and then didn't and sat there baking in the sun. It wasn't exactly to the point of being completely fried but a few more hours and no doubt that's what would have happened. Alex excitedly said "Let's save it!" To which I answered with "Alex, it looks dead!" Again, it was all dry & not moving. We decided to take a closer look. As we got right over it we noticed its tail slightly moving. Alex insisted WE (as in me) pick it up & move it to the side of road so it didn't get run over. So I picked it up (very squeemishly) and put it in the grass on the side of the road. "At least it wouldn't get run over" I thought. I really thought it was pretty much dead. We left the turtle and continued home. Up the road a while we passed a stream of water running down a ditch in the side of the road which then continued through a drainage pipe. Alex said "Mom, lets go back and get the turtle and bring it to the water. Maybe we can save it!" After a quick discussion about how we would have to walk back & I didn't know if I could find it again in the grass I reluctantly gave in. We started backtracking. After some time going back and forth along the grass we found it. I again, (squeemishly) picked it up and carried it back to the water. I placed it down where it could put its face in and drink but not so much that it would get washed away by the current. At first it didn't do much of anything. I was fully convinced it was pretty much a gonner. Its shell just looked so dried out and it was so still. We decided to use a wet leaf and start wetting the shell. Alex then continued..."Maybe if we put it MORE in the water it will start swimming." My thoughts were exactly the opposite...."If I put it in more of the water, the current will carry it away and it will drown. At this point it still wasn't doing much moving around. But, again, I relented and used the leaf to push it more into the water. Then, I swear, it was like some miracle, that darn thing started moving around! It looked like it was starting to drink and bobbing its head in and out of the water. Then it started crawling very slowly up stream. Then within a few more seconds he started swimming little by little up stream. I know I may get called crazy for this but it actually looked like it was happy and excited that we saved it. It went from looking pretty much dead and dried out to alive and vibrant. We stood and watched this little guy (or girl) start to make its way upstream before we headed home. It was quite a lesson that my son taught me. I am always preaching to him things like "To be a good person is to have compassion for others" & "Never give up" & "try to think positive" but at this moment I wasn't following any of my own advice. I was thinking "I really don't want to touch that thing" and "it is pretty much dead anyway". It was so amazing to see him putting these positive attributes into action and to be so insistant on caring for another being even when his mom really wasn't sharing the same enthusiasm. The rest of the way back home, Alex beemed excitement and pride for what we did together and how we were like "animal rescuers" and how we "saved that turtles life". It was truly infectious! By the time we got back to our driveway I was feeling that same euphoria, almost skipping up the driveway and thinking maybe that little turtle might just have a long and happy life, get married, have little baby turtles.....(A bit much I know.) Thanks, my son, for reminding me that there is no better feeling then stepping out of our comfort zone to help another. And thanks little turtle for providing me the opportunity to share that experience with my son. I hope you make it upstream!