May 22 2012
Truth to tell, there are days when I just want to do…nothing. Not nothing at all, mind. Just nothing that raises a sweat. I don’t want to cycle. I don’t want to paddle. I don’t want to hike. I just want to sit quietly with a good book, or maybe watch a movie, or sketch one of the many birds that come to my office window.
Still, those days are few and far between, and even when the stay-at-home bug is biting hardest, I’ll often kit up and cycle off round the block, just to keep the blood flowing. Since the “block” in question is about 20 miles around, that’s a pretty good ride in itself. And anyway, I usually feel a surge of energy with the first spin of the crank. There are fringe benefits, too. Now that the days are long and the sun is high, I often see turtles or other creatures in the road. And sometimes I can shepherd them safely across. Much more often, of course, I arrive on the scene too late to do anything more than move an already stiffening body off the asphalt and onto the grass. This makes it a little less likely that the scavengers who’ll soon be drawn to the corpse—vultures, crows, foxes, raccoons, and the like—will also end their days crushed under the wheels of a speeding car.
Needless to say, I don’t much enjoy the role of mortuary attendant. If nothing else, it reminds me how vulnerable I am, perched on a spindly framework of steel tubes as two-ton vehicles muscle past me at three or four times my speed, while their drivers conduct animated “conversations” by text message, darting only occasional glances at the road ahead.
But then, just as these melancholy reflections are about to chase all the joy from my day, a ray of sunlight breaks through the lowering cloud. As it did only last week, when I got an e-mail from Contributing Photographer Pat McKay, reporting the first turtle save of his (and my) year:
I swear the skies were blue when I left the house to go on my bike ride, but then about nine miles into the ride... No, I got caught, but at least I was able to get this little box turtle off the road before the storm reached me.
A welcome piece of good news, indeed. Thanks, Pat!
A reminder: If you spend much time on the road, and if you’d like to lend a hand when you see a turtle in trouble, but you’re not entirely sure how to do it safely, just check out the resources listed below. And while you’re at it, print out our “Quick Guide for Turtle Taxis” and carry it with you whenever you venture out. Better yet, make a dozen copies or so and hand them round to all your like-minded friends. Turtle or cyclist, life can be hard for those of us in the slow lane. A little help really can make all the difference.
- “Become a Turtle Taxi”
- “A Printable Quick Guide for Turtle Taxis”
- “Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator”
- “New York Center for Turtle Rehabilitation and Conservation, Inc.”
- “Turtle Portrait Gallery’”
Questions? Comments? Just click here!