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The bike riding turtle saver

“Could you write me a story?” — That was the email’s subject line. It was a request begging for clarification!

The email’s address didn’t help me at all. Its mix of nonsensical letters struck me as what happens when randomly striking ten letters on the keyboard. Certainly the author had achieved anonymity when setting up the Google email account!

At the same time, I had to admit that the author had piqued my interest. So, I read on.

“Stertin, I hope you will excuse me if this note is impertinent. But, I have been reading your “stuff” for quite a while. I have understood most of what you have written. But, what I most like is when you tell little stories. I also like it when there is a link to a song. I thought the one about the garden, that you made available just several days ago, really struck me. So, the thought came to my mind: ‘Send Stertin a request.’

“So, that is what I am doing — Could you write a story about a turtle?”

The challenge interested me. It appeared that the emailer was giving me quite a bit of freedom for the story.

So, this is a Turtle story for “dfgkbwnjmk” at Google dot com.

It’s not every day I see a turtle on Saddlebrook Blvd. In fact, I had only seen one other turtle during the almost eight years of living here. But today, it happened, about eleven in the morning.   I had already passed a squirrel that hadn’t survive a close encounter with a car. Several hundred yards further, there was “my” turtle, in “my” lane of traffic. At first I scooted to the left, didn’t even slow down, but I did catch at least a glimpse to know that it seemed to be fine. Except. There is a reason for the story of the tortoise and the hare. Turtles are not sprinters. They don’t dodge traffic to make room for oncoming vehicles.

So, in a split second, I slammed on the bike brakes, dropped the kick stand, and walked back to the turtle. I would like to say that I heard it murmur, “thanks, Mr. ___ .” But, of course, that didn’t happen. No other cars were coming from either direction, so, I kneeled down and between my thumb and first two fingers, I picked up “my turtle.”

It pulled its legs under its shell, as well as its head, and I am sure it was talking to itself. I imagined its monologue.

“What just happened to me? . . . What is this thing that just picked me up into the air?   . . . Is it just like I am, but it’s huge while I am small?

. . . . I was doing fine there in the middle of the street. . . .Did whatever picked me up know something I don’t know, and that is why it did what it did? . . .

And, why and how am I suddenly “flying” over the street? I am seeing things I have never seen before . . . How did I get to the grass so fast? . . . That must be a world record for my family, and perhaps for all of my turtle friends also. Maybe I will get an invitation to the Turtle Olympics! . . .

And what is this animal who only has two legs doing here? . . . It is so huge. . . . How could it pick me up without hurting me? . . .  Maybe that is why I have a shell – to protect me from things I don’t know much or anything about.

So, the turtle, all safe in the grass, off the street and in no danger of becoming another squashed victim of some car wheels, had an experience with something more vast than it could fathom, a reality motivated by values and purposes that transcend the turtle’s finitude.

And, the bike riding turtle saver, who would be drenched by a downpour before getting home? Well, he felt happy, perhaps joyful, to have had the opportunity to “save” a helpless and endangered creature. It was a win-win event.

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Hope you liked the story and the embedded moral, my new friend, “dfgkbwnjmk” – WVC