He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

August 27, 2010

A Girl and Her Turtle

I lost Matilda the other day. Only for about ten minutes, and Matt found her before she found a hole in the fence, but those were a frightening ten minutes by the end of which I was nearly in tears. I was so sure that she'd escaped and I'd never see her again, that she'd gone under the fence and right out into traffic and that was the end of her, and I'd never, ever forgive myself.

I don't normally take her out of her pen in the middle of the day, but the weather has been gorgeous lately, like early fall, so I decided to sit out on the patio while I outlined some articles, and I figured she'd enjoy an afternoon stroll around the yard. Then one minute I was watching her sunbathe and munch on a dead cicada, the next I looked down at my writing to jot some notes, and by minute three I looked back up and simply could not see the turtle.

You might think that it would be hard to lose a turtle within the space of a minute. After all, they don't exactly have reputations as speedsters. But they are, in fact, faster than you'd expect, and on top of that they have built-in camouflage that, as it turns out, does an excellent job of blending in with the overgrown grass in our way-past-due-to-be-mowed yard.

I spent about five minutes walking the yard and poking through said grass before I went to get Matt, to have him stand guard at the most likely point of escape while I continued to scour the yard. After another five minutes, he spotted Matilda hiding behind a cement brick by the back fence. That's the chain-link one with links that she can't fit through, thankfully, and not the wooden privacy fence that lines a busy street and has gaps that she has yet to discover are just the right height for her to slip right under.

Afterwards, I tucked her safely back in her pen, where she burrowed down in the dirt in her favorite sleeping spot beneath her hollow half-log, and then sat down to recover and be amazed at how attached I've become to a turtle. I mean, yes, I've wanted a turtle just like her for a really long time. But she's not exactly cuddly, and all she does is eat, sleep and crawl around. But she sure is cute doing those things, and it's neat to watch her hunt for bugs, and she seems to enjoy being baby-talked and having the back of her neck rubbed. As it turns out, I love her for all of that. And I will never, ever, ever leave her unsupervised in the back yard again, not even for a minute.


coffeecolouredworld said...

Sneaky turtle you have there. Glad she's safe and sound and still in the yard.

JulesP said...

Awww I want a turtle now! I'm glad you found her. You are welcome to come by my house ANYTIME! I'm home all day and I would love some company! Just let me know what a good day is for you and I'll make sure I actually put on clothes that day ;)

Jean Bauhaus said...

@Cynthia - thanks. She really is sneaky. I have to watch her like a hawk.

@JulesP - I will! I want to try to come by some time when Stacie's there, but even if he's not I'll love hanging out with you and the little guy. Maybe I'll even bring my turtle. ;p

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