Crossing the Road

Michael Erlewine

Unless it is out in the fields, woods, and streams, I don’t get out too much. In fact, I sometimes will ponder for two or three days if I really want to go to the grocery store. And I am not all that social, either. One-to-one I am fine, but get me in a room with 20-30 people and there are so many signals flying back and forth that I usually end up out on the porch or somewhere private with just one or two other people.

And the same is true for driving through our small town. I always go the back way rather than through downtown and on the main drag. The back way is about four miles of country road and I like that. Anyway, probably more than you wanted to know.

The other day, coming back from the local supermarket on the back roads, Margaret and I came across this young snapping turtle frozen in fright partway out on the road. He was sure to be crushed sooner or later because he had been scared to move for who knows how long.

I have a habit of helping turtles across the road, including big two-foot-long snapping turtles. I pick them up by their tails and hold them (there are heavy) away from my body so their long necks can’t snake out and bite my legs. However, this little snapper was all of five inches long, and he was severely dehydrated. He had made a big mistake going overland right here because there was no pond or lake where he was headed. He was all dried up and didn’t smell too good either.

Well, I spun the car around, directed traffic, scooped him up, and took him home where he sat in one of the small aquariums that I have just for this kind of purpose. I had to prop him up with something in the water in case he was too weak to stick his head up to breathe.

Well, a couple days later he was all hydrated and today I took his passport photo (which you see) and Margaret and I drove him out to a small pond next to a large marsh. He was happy to see it and swam down into the reeds.

That’s my story. I just wanted you to see his photo because it is nice.

— Michael Erlewine

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