I Had a Terrible Day


I had a terrible day. I don’t want to tell you why because I don’t want to upset you. If I tell you, it will upset you.

Oh all right, I’ll tell you . . .

I was driving to work this morning going south on Moulton Parkway when I saw a small animal in the lane ahead of me. I couldn’t tell what it was from a distance but as I got closer I could see that it was a turtle.

His shell was about six inches in diameter, about the size of a large pancake or a mid-sized tortilla, and as I drove around him he was lifting his right front foot and getting ready to take a step in an east-to-west direction.

Moulton is six lanes across at that point. The turtle had already miraculously crossed three-and-a-half of them but he seemed to me to be a hopeless underdog against the morning commuter traffic and I resolved that if possible I would save his life by getting him out of the street.

I drove to the next intersection — no U-turn allowed, so I turned right, made a U-turn back to the intersection and waited for the left turn signal.

It was a long signal.

As I waited, I thought about what I would do with the turtle if I could get him out of the road. Setting him on the sidewalk didn’t seem to make much sense. He might walk right back into the street.

I could take him to a nice pond but what if he had family living near Moulton? He would miss his family and they would never know what happened to him.

Should I turn him over to the county Animal Control Service?

The signal changed and as you’ve probably guessed, I never had to make the decision.

The turtle had made it across five-and-a-half lanes. The good news is that he was crushed cleanly, which is a better death than, say, dying slowly in an oil spill.

Like Tony Soprano, he never knew what hit him, just an ecstatic soundless expansion of a pinpoint of light in the dark center of his turtle being.

I wish I’d been able to save him. I hope he’s in turtle heaven.

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