The Grandmother Turtle

MOSEYING ACROSS THE FOOTBRIDGE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES, I CAME UPON OLD TURTLE—GRANDMOTHER TURTLE—just awakening from a long winter’s nap. Perhaps 60, 70, 90 years of age—if not a thousand—she rested in about 8” of water, among last Fall’s sunken leaves and old, waterlogged sticks and branches, half-hidden in the glassy reflections of the pines. Nearly the size of a garbage can lid, with great, scaly “hands” and magnificent claws, she poked her nose up once in a quarter-hour to get a breath. Otherwise, she just lay in the mud, as I lay on the footbridge, sharing a bit of Spring together. She has probably seen more Aprils than I. And this is her river more than mine, no doubt. I’m just happy for the chance to share it, to observe such a marvelous creature up close, in her own natural world.

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