A Discarded Shell


Today I saw a turtle making its wobbly way through a patch of wet grass. He was coming straight for the road. I looked on the other side and noticed a pond. In his determination to get to that refuge he was unaware of his possible demise.

Or perhaps he studied the traffic patterns of a Saturday afternoon and knew this was his best chance.

Remember Frogger?

Only this wasn’t a post-Pong, pre-Mario game. This was real. One wrong move and that shell, no matter how sturdy, couldn’t protect him from the weight and speed of a moving vehicle.

I prayed the cars behind me saw him. And perhaps the jogger on the sidewalk might catch a glimpse, run over, and carry the poor thing across. There was no where for me to stop so I moved on. I couldn’t linger in the rear-view for fear I might see the worst. A shattered shell. A busted dream. A snack for the vultures.

What happens to the shell? It is discarded. Its crushed pieces refuse on the street. A reminder to look before you cross. And once you do, you do it with all the heart and speed you can muster under the heaviness of the hull.

Perhaps the shell is taken and studied. Or even collected like pretty beach shells we use to decorate our houses and yards and hold them to our ear to hear the ocean.

Or maybe another organism finds in the abandoned husk a new home.



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