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My bike ride took me along the Buffalo Bayou. The sun was beating down, rising higher in the easter sky and intensifying its heat. There was reason to finish up the ride just to beat the Houston heat but something made me slow down and make an unscheduled stop.
From a distance I saw something that was not a normal part of the landscape. My scanning the horizon and enjoying the views stopped short. Like radar locking on to target I automatically started to slow down.
There on the grassy field was a lump standing higher than the freshly cut lawn. It was the only protrusion making for an obvious oddity. Over the hill was the water in the Bayou.
Now, I was close enough to identify the surprise. It was a turtle. I looked at him and he made me smile.
Its tiny head was protruding from beneath its very strong shell. I don’t know how well a turtle’s eyesight is but it was definitely having some eye contact with me. Maybe I was intimidating like most humans who tower over these amphibians.
Slowly but deliberately it drew in its legs. Its head shrank back a little too. Now its house of defense protected most of it if I was a real threat or danger.
Someone must have cut the grass recently. Shavings were sprinkled over its back. The design on its shell was now decorated with foliage and giving it a comical appearance. I smiled even more.
I got closer. My movements were slow. I did not want to scare, just photograph it.
Now, its image is tucked away in my phone. I left it alone never having touched or disturbed it. From a distance on my bicycle I could just make out its slow and deliberate movements.
This turtle was heading some where. It wasn’t in a hurry. It couldn’t be even it wanted to.
Maybe as it crept along, it reminds all of us Houstonians to take our time in the hot humid summer days. Moving at a turtles’ pace may have the merits of making life in the hot south much more manageable, don’t you think? It was a least worth a long smile, right?
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography