Graphic Violence at the Swamp
Memorial Day weekend was quiet and it got me thinking last year it wasn't that way at all. The rains were torrential and they seemed to wash turtles into the road left and right. I remember heading out to see a friend and getting caught in a heavy downpour that would bring Southbury to its knees under the weight of fallen ancient trees and runoff. On the way out, I saw a painted turtle making its way across the road, so I stopped and finished the crossing for him or her and got back in my car, soaked.
There was a lot of that last year: the weird little school teacher stopping the VW to jump out and scoot the turtle out of harm's way. Stopping for turtles was a given.
But this year: Where are the turtles? I have been waiting for them.
Earlier on this spring, I had seen them sunbathing on tufts of grass in the swamp. Turtle tai chi was fun to watch, and it was lovely and easy because they were safe from autos deep in the swamp.
That was three months ago. But now?
Out for a walk this evening, I came across the remains of two that had been smashed at the mouth of a driveway. Their bodies lay in the blackened tire marks of somebody who had claimed for himself the thrill of killing two turtles at once.
My heart sank when I saw these two smashed beauties. These animals seem to me to be as vulnerable as they are sturdy, simple as they are wise, and always true to the earth that brings them home to continue the cycle of life.
What to say next?