Monday, September 13, 2010


When you live in the Midwest, especially smaller towns in the Midwest, you get used to seeing a fair amount of roadkill while traveling the highways. And I don't know what it is about roadkill, but I just can't help but stare at it. Perhaps it is the mystery of trying to figure out what kind of animal it is or maybe it is the excitement of the possibility of seeing an animal that is not indigenous to this area. Whatever the case may be--I cannot look away until I have examined it.

As my son and I were driving to Omaha one day I could see a familiar lump in the road. I was pretty close to it when I noticed it and thought it was a cat or a coon, so I moved the car to the left so I wouldn't hit. Just as the car came up on it my eyes began to make out the shape--it was a turtle! And...just as the car started to go over it--he MOVED!

I anxiously told my son what I had seen as I was maneuvering my vehicle to the side of the road. He hadn't seen it and thought for sure that it was probably dead. I made a, very illegal, U-turn in the middle of the highway and went back towards the scene of the crime.

As we approached the little guy my son was convinced he was dead. He wasn't moving and there was a large, gaping hole in the back of his shell. However, as a semi passed over him he panicked and started to move. The thought of this little guy just sitting on the hot pavement with vehicles whizzing over him, and possibly hitting him, was nearly bringing me to tears. I couldn't do nothing, so I called a friend who worked with wildlife.

Well, apparently a turtle with a gaping hole in his back does not have a good prognosis and is not worth coming to pick up. But, I just could not leave him. I begged my son to do something--just get him off the road. So, Josh looked in the back of the car and found something to put over his hands and cautiously walked onto the highway.

As he drew closer to the turtle he could see that the wound was pretty bad. Considering this was probably a snapping turtle, Josh had to be careful and grab him as far back on the shell as he could so he would not get bit. He lifted the turtle and ran to the side of the road--placing him in a ditch, out of the sun, and covered with tall grass. My hero!

As we drove away I knew that the turtle would probably die, but I felt so much better knowing it would not be in the middle of the highway. I was proud of my son for caring enough to appease his mom, but also realized that his careful placement of the turtle had nothing to do with me--it was the tugging of his own heartstrings.

On our return trip home that day, as we approached the spot where the turtle was, we began to reminisce about the event once more. Josh told me to slow down and pull over when we got to the exact place, because he wanted to get out and check on the turtle. My heart sighed as I realized what an amazing heart he has.

As he got back in the vehicle he said--"He's gone mom! I looked around, but he is gone." While I knew he probably hobbled off to die, I couldn't help but hope that someday we would encounter a turtle with a large scar on his back. Josh and I chuckled at the prospect and I referred to our little friend as "Tippy". Josh didn't care for that name much, so I challenged him to come up with a better name--to which he promptly replied "Crush" from Finding Nemo. We both cracked up at how appropriate that name was for our little guy.

Lord, thank you for the events of that day! Thank you for allowing my son to have such a kind heart and for allowing Crush to be gone. Whether he lived or died is Your knowledge alone, but it allowed for a precious memory between a mom and her son. You are so good.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Love this. Look forward to those moments with my son some day.