tiny treasures

It is hunting season around here. My neighbour always kindly reminds me, or I might forget. Forgetting wasn’t a possibility the other day. It was so loud that I looked out the kitchen window to see if there was a confused hunter out shooting our sheep. Whether it was target practice or boredom, the dog and I stuck to the roads for our walk.

The kids and I call the woods that I usually walk through, “The Magic Forest.” It’s pure Narnia. Especially in winter. Kids who are ambivalent about walks in general, almost always accept invitations to the Magic Forest. Hunting season is short, but I miss my magic trees. Gravel, pavement, telephone poles, and plastic food wrappers (reminding me that living in the country does make the one immune to self-indulgent stupidity) are just not the same, even without the cars.

The only magic on the roads is when I happen on some of the creatures passing by. Skunks, deer, racoons, rabbits, a family of foxes, wild turkey. I always slow down to look. One night a porcupine stopped to look back so we had a conversation in the dark until he finally ambled off.

I think my favourites are the turtles. Every year in May or June, there is a week when the turtles line the gravel on the sides of the road like vacation destinations. A road just around the corner from us seems to be prime real estate. At dusk, huge snapping turtles dig nests in the gravel and lay their eggs. I always want to explain that the benefits of warm blacktop can’t possibly outweigh the danger of cars. I never see the babies, only mothers in the spring. But despite the fatalities, they keep showing up to lay eggs, so something must be working.

On my unmagic walk, I tried to convince the dog that removing the burr from her tail would make her more attractive. We have been having this discussion for about three weeks now. Turns out she doesn’t care what she looks like. Every time she paused to sniff something, I would give a futile attempt to grab at that burr with my fingers. Bent over trying to grab the burr in motion, my eyes caught sight of a hole. For a second I thought some moron had buried their white plastic garbage in the gravel, but logic prevailed and I took a closer look.

On the side of a most un-enchanted and ordinary road, magic. Turtle eggs.  Already hatched. No baby turtles, but I dug out five or six dusty white broken shells and took them home to show the kids. In the dance down here between miracles and madness, mark one for the miracles.

8 Comments to tiny treasures

  1. Rachel Bushnell says:

    A magic forest is a most wonderful gift to give to children. There are some lucky ones on County Rd 21!

  2. Leslie Lynch says:

    You lifted my spirits this morning! I can just SEE those empty egg shells. We didn’t have turtles/tortoises in Montana where I grew up, so encountering them here, in Indiana, has always created magical moments. If the traffic allows, we stop and (very carefully) pick the small turtles up and put them in the brambles at the side of the road. “Turtle patrol”! You’ve motivated me to go for a walk today. Happy wanderings, Michelle! :-)

  3. Ruth-Ann says:

    No kidding! Another mark for miracles. And another mark for magic on account of your writing!

  4. Karen says:

    That is soo cool!! I miss the turtles!! We have foxes and rocks.. the kids love our forest as well and I am so glad to be back in the magic of winter where we can see the trails of all the animals (mostly rabbits, squirrels,foxes, ptarmigans, and mice). Thanks for the reminder of the magic and miracles!

  5. Claudia says:

    That is so cool! We saw a turtle lay her eggs in our backyard a few years ago, it was just amazing, we saw her lay 9 eggs and every time she will push them to the hole she had made, it was just incredible, then when she was finish she cover the hole and walk slowly away :) the girls and i went back several times to see the baby turtles but we never saw them.