May 25, 2018

Poetry Friday--Snapping Turtles

Update: My friend, Mary Doane (aka "The Turtle Lady"), told me it was probably an Eastern painted turtle. After looking online, I agree. Here's the information on the painted turtle. The teeny turtle, if lucky, will only grow to about 6 inches.

Snapping turtles in New Hampshire can grow to be 70 pounds. And, as their name suggests, they snap. People have told me stories of chunks taken out of oars by snapping turtles. Stay away from the big ones!

A few weeks ago, though, a co-worker found a baby snapping turtle on the parking lot asphalt. Not the best place to be sunning one's turtle self.




It was tiny! I didn't hesitate for a second to pick it up and move it to a safe spot. Relocation involved taking a walk through the woods behind the library. I had never been more than 10 or 20 feet into the woods in the 20+ years the library building has been occupied. I knew there was a swampy area down the hill, so I started walking. I went past two old stone walls, over a well-walked, but unmarked path, and ended up at the swamp that turned out to be an active great blue heron rookery. I counted seven herons on or next to nests. Another heron flew in as I watched. I was a bit hesitant about leaving the turtle, since it might have made a snack for any one of the herons, but, I felt it was safer at the edge of a swamp than in the middle of the parking lot!






The baby snapping turtle in the parking lot was a real mystery. It was too early in the season for turtles to be hatching, so it must have been one of last year's hatchlings. How had it survived 2017-18's long, cold winter? How had it gotten such a great distance from the water?

Last year, not far behind the library, a large snapping turtle dug several holes, but we never saw it laying eggs. Why it would have chosen the dumpster area behind a library for it's nesting spot is beyond me!

Perhaps the little guy was the progeny of the library dumpster turtle?




A lot of background for one little poem!



© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Visit Margaret at Reflections of the Teche where you'll find this week's Round-Up.

31 comments:

  1. Diane, that was an interesting story about the turtle and I think you should link it to the hashtag #WorldTurtleDay that happened this week. I think others would be fascinated by it and the way you crafted your image poem. Perhaps you will offer this one for my spring gallery.

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    1. I didn't realize it was World Turtle Day this week! I'll send you this poem, and last Sunday's haiga, for your gallery.

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    2. Thanks for both of your offerings, Dianne.

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  2. The mystery of the baby snapping turtle... so many questions are unanswered! The little guy certainly led to a good analogy.

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    1. It's amazing the distances these little creatures travel!

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  3. Wonderful! Brings to mind the first day of school every September. I hope our friend Mary sees this.

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    1. Per your suggestion, I message the link to Mary. She will be doing a turtle program at the library this summer!

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  4. Dear Diane, I love your library turtle relocation program. :) So tiny! I'm glad you spotted him/her and gave him/her a new story. xo

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    1. I hope the story has a happy ending!

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  5. I love that you took the time to help this tiny turtle, told us the story and you received a big thankyou by your adventure with the herons, didn't you? The thought of sending children out into the world with choices they must make themselves is poignant for parents, teachers, too. Best wishes to this new one!

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    1. The herons were a definite reward!

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  6. I loved the story you shared of the tiny turtle rescue, and your poem greatly touched me - especially the final line which leaves the reader with a powerful thought - Whose hand to accept along the way.

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    1. Thanks, Leslie! Happy you stopped by!

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  7. I love your save the turtle story and how you took us with you to walk behind the library. Does your library have naturalist programs for kids with such a prime location? Your little poem makes me think of orphaned children and how they need someone to love them unconditionally.

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    1. It is dangerous to be out in the woods behind the library because of the abundance of ticks. Ticks and Lyme disease have put a damper on outdoor adventures. When I came back, I found two on me. I spent 24 hours afterwards dealing with phantom itches!

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  8. Such a cute little creature - but I am still pondering the poem! Much to think about.

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    1. If you're thinking about it, then I take that as a good sign!

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  9. Diane, what a great post! I so enjoyed reading about your adventures with this tiny turtle and your walk into the woods with such rich rewards (minus the ticks!). Your poem carries a weighty message for such a small turtle. Each line wrings my heart, as a mother and as a "motherless" daughter.

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    1. We must take the example of the baby turtle to heart and know that we will make it through by placing one foot in front of the other.

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  10. I enjoyed the story behind your poem--you had quite the adventure and lots of discoveries! It is a lovely turtle and poem as well. I hope he survives the herons.

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  11. That little baby is adorable. "Who's hand to accept" -- a perfect phrase to capture the doubt children, maybe all of us, feel as we journey through life.

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  12. What an adventure for you and the little turtle! I love your thought-provoking poem, and am in awe of that heron rookery. What an image! Thank you for sharing.

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  13. You helped this little turtle to safety, Diane, and he (she?) in turn led you to new discoveries. Love it! Not the part about the ticks, though. Egads.

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  14. Oh, my goodness what a joy to read this. So glad this turtle found your helping hands. You are a true turtle hero!

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  15. Wow, that was quite a tale of the snapping turtle! Thanks for the story and the poem!

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  16. LOVE this, of course. That little fellow (fellow-ette?) is adorable. I nearly go myself into trouble last year trying to help a (larger!!) one cross the road; there was slime all over the shell and I couldn't make it out. I thought, mistakenly, it was a large box turtle, but.... that head swung around and I retreated to save my digits! Happy ending anyway for that one on that day, and I wish the same for "yours"! A heron rookery - wow. Thanks for sharing all.

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  17. Touching little poem, Diane...we found a baby snapper in the road the other day, walking to the library. Only the size of a 50-cent coin, he blended in with the color of the pavement. Fortunately, field and pond next to us was waiting. ;)

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  18. I'm so glad that someone willing to walk down to the edge of the swamp was there when this little turtle needed a hand!!

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  19. Wonderful Diane, I love your pic and your cherita, thanks for helping this little critter out!

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  20. Lovely story, Diane, and your poem brings thoughts of border children separated from their parents.

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