Do you sometimes feel like disappearing into the background perfectly like this little fellow we encountered on the C&O canal towpath recently?
It is Saturday morning here in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and it is just beautiful outside – the sun is up but it is not too hot. I usually try to either help with the Church furniture program on Saturday mornings, or go down to the C&O canal towpath by the Potomac river for an early morning run/walk. Today’s morning plans have been thrown slightly askew. Another meeting that had been planned has not materialized and the morning could be free, but it is too late to do the usual stuff. Being the nice guy I am (he! he!), I volunteer to take Christina to her dance class at 8:00 am. After dropping her off, I decide to explore the byways of Montgomery County by motorized means. I take to the back roads that parallel The Potomac River, heading north towards Edwards Ferry and Whites Ferry. The goal is to find parking lots along the river where I can park the car at some future date and explore the canal towpath (which winds its way all the way up to Cumberland, MD, 184.5 miles of hiking/biking trails in all). The scenic countryside of Montgomery County, and its hidden woods, are seldom seen by us folks living in Suburban Paradise. We scurry around like ants taking care of our businesses and experiencing the hustle and bustle of daily life. We very rarely make a serious effort to learn about the place we live in and become familiar with what surrounds us. So here I am on the back roads of America, bouncing around on the gravel pathways that we seldom experience, the roads that we always find a reason to avoid in our rush, for God knows what reason, to get from point A to point B.
What about the turtle, you ask? Heading north on River Road from Riley’s Lock, on a reasonably fast road (40 mph), (not one of the gravel roads that I noted earlier), I encounter a turtle crossing the road. The turtle is on the opposite lane, which is a good thing because I could have killed it otherwise. I quickly pull over to the side, turn around and drive back to where I had seen the turtle. Luckily there is not much traffic around. This is not a well-traveled road, and it is also a Saturday morning at that. Mr. Turtle is still trying to make his way across the road. (Wait a minute – I guess it could be a female! I am going to call her Mr. Turtle anyway.) A couple of cars zoom by on the opposite lane. Mr. Turtle appears to hesitate with the noise and the gusts of wind from the passing cars. I look around, make sure there are no cars coming, get to Mr. Turtle in the middle of the road, and pick him/her up. All four legs and head are out, and I stare into Mr. Turtle’s eyes. I think I said something along the lines of “How are you doing”, or “What are you trying to do”. Mr. Turtle quickly disappears into his/her shell (not very friendly, I thought!). I take Mr. Turtle across the road to where I guessed he/she was going, and put him/her down by the bushes facing the approximate direction in which I thought he/she was headed. When last I left Mr. Turtle, he/she was still under the shell. All the best, Mr. Turtle!
Now, I do not know if I really saved Mr. Turtle’s life, because, for all I know, he/she could have just turned and headed back for the road, and gotten hit by another passing vehicle. Does it matter what I did? Was the risk I took of getting hit by a vehicle myself worth it? Maybe it does not matter in the big picture whether a turtle survives or not. But it felt good!!!!
Boys and girls, that is my story for today. If you have not been bored, I might even be tempted to tell you about turning the other cheek – a very naughty story indeed! Or about the other day I saw a big snake on the towpath (it gets bigger with every week that passes!).
S’all for now.