Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road

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A couple of weeks ago, a cold front moved in and I said something about it being the last of the 70 degree days. Turns out that was wrong as we are having another period of fall-summer where we almost hit 80. It was hot enough to turn on the air conditioning again. Such a confusing time of year. The one good thing about fall-summer is that the air is dry so we don’t get the humidity that we get in actual summer.

And we decided to take advantage of the nicer weather to venture out a bit and go visit a relatively nearby state park. I believe I mentioned that we saw some raptor shows during the state fair and it turns out that this park had a “raptor center” so it seemed like it would be cool to drive up there and see that and take a few walks.

Turns out the raptor center wasn’t all that. I mean they had the birds and that was cool but it was just a small building with a series of small cages. I felt a little sorry for the raptors except I remembered that most of them can’t fly so they don’t need a lot of space. Plus, as injured birds, they wouldn’t have survived in the wild. Here, they get taken care of and every so often get to go on road trips to be ambassadors and show people raptors up close. Seems like a better deal than starving to death in the wild.

Now, I’m not going to knock the state I currently reside in but, if we are being honest, it would not rank high in terms of natural beauty. In fact, it would probably rank near the bottom if not actually at the bottom. Which isn’t to say we don’t have nice spots but most of the state was flat woodlands that was cleared for farm land so we lack a lot of what you’d think about if you were looking for scenic beauty.

Which you kind of have to do if you live here

And that means most of our State Parks are built for recreation. This particular one is actually a reservoir created to control river flooding. But they call it a lake even though it was created and we don’t have a lot of lakes here so this one actually had a little beach. It is only open through Labor Day and the water level was too low so you couldn’t have gone swimming even if it was open but I could see where it would attract people. There are campgrounds here so it is probably a nice place to go and relax for a weekend in the summer. There was a guy who was lying on the beach and enjoying the sun and warm weather. There were gulls around as well so it did give off the proper beach vibe.

We ended up walking a couple of the trails. The leaves were a little past peak but there was still a lot of fall color. It would probably be better in the spring when the migratory birds come through and the turtles wake up. We did see a couple of turtles enjoying the late fall warm spell. Saw lots of turkey vultures soaring on the winds. They’ll be on their way south soon though.

At the nature center, they had a small enclosure with a couple of box turtles. There was a sign there that said the turtles were there because people had taken them from their natural habitats and so they couldn’t really survive in the wild anymore. Didn’t realize this was a thing but I guess turtles tend to live in small areas so taking them somewhere new kind of freaks them out. I also did not realize it at the time but this was a major foreshadowing event and will now explain the title of the post.

On Sunday, we went to a local park to enjoy the morning and take a little walk. As we started the drive back, I noticed something in the road and realized it was a turtle attempting to cross the road. We pulled over so I could get him out of the road and had to watch as a car was speeding down the road totally oblivious to the life right in front of them. Fortunately, the turtle was in a spot where the tires missed him.

So I walked back and picked him up. He was moving away from the park and the spot where he was going was a soybean field that had fortunately been harvested. Didn’t seem like an ideal spot but everything I’ve read says you have to move them in the direction they were going otherwise they’ll just try crossing again.

Thought hard about either bringing him back into the park or even taking him back with us to release near our woods but I remembered what we saw at the park so I took him a bit into the bean field and let him go. Good thing because I was going back to the car, there were three other cars coming at a high rate of speed. I hope he finds a safe spot.

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