Turtle crossing the road (part two)

Published 9:01 am Wednesday, June 17, 2009

JoJo’s truck sideswiped the turtle’s shell. Catching the raised lower lip, the large tires turned the encased creature into a skyward projectile. Up and up he went, flipping and floating and back down again.

Passing the log truck, Cindy Mumford sensed a thud in the bed of her pickup truck, not uncommon for old Chevy’s. Glancing back amongst the pine straw, bags and old tires, she saw nothing unusual, her train of thought remaining unbroken.

Shaking his head to dispel the dizziness, the turtle realized he was in strange territory. This was no forest floor. The wind was deafening, the view obstructed and no leaves underfoot. Heart pounding, he blinked and pondered his predicament. He was moving. Far faster than ever before. Fear enveloped him.

Parking the truck, Cindy grabbed the groceries and hastened to her dwelling. Seeing ripe fruit in the garden and tall grass in the yard, she catalogued the days tasks. “Wash clothes, call mom, cut grass, feed “Butch,” pick squash.” Putting away the groceries and noticing the empty dog dish, she headed to the shed. The riding mower belched a guttural call to life as it started across the lawn, chewing up all things in its path.

Sometimes fate is our friend. The tailgate had been removed years ago. Instead of a four-walled prison, the turtle had an opening to freedom. Seeing the opportunity and harnessing his courage, he ran (as turtles run) toward the rear of the truck. Down over the bumper he fell, landing belly-down in the tall grass. His legs never stopped as he churned away in no particular direction. The direction of the mower. Blades of fescue rubbed his nose and scraped his eyes as he pushed through the green jungle. He stopped and listened. There was an approaching roar.

It wasn’t as if Cindy didn’t like turtles. She simply never saw him. The grass was tall and the task mundane. Activities repeated over time disengage us from the actual endeavor itself. Our bodies no longer require the attentiveness of the mind, freeing our thoughts to travel where they may. We cannot fault Cindy as she bore down upon the turtle, thinking of her mother’s recent comments. “I told you not to get involved with him.” Such condescension pulled Cindy to that place she so despised. Treated as a child.

The roar now deafening, the turtle retracted all protruding appendages into his supposedly protective armor. Heart pounding, eyes squeezed shut, he braced himself. “Oh no,” he thought. “Not again!”