And a Most Intriguing Animal
“Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars,
and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason;
They are not going to become prime ministers or presidents,
and they are not going to become rich, and they will never have any bank balances.
Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.”
I’ve been fascinated with turtles ever since a tiny box turtle became one of my very first pets at summer camp, so many long years ago.
As I was swimming along in the camp lake one warm sunny summer afternoon, I happened to come upon a small turtle merrily sunbathing and napping on the rocky shoreline. I was immediately fascinated by it, and I just knew it would make a wonderful pet.
So I quickly scooped up Mr. Turtle and rushed him back to my cabin. Once there, I soon constructed a very nice home for him in an old cardboard box, and in the following glorious two weeks, Mr. Turtle and I became the very best of friends.
He slept under my bunk every night, and every morning I would rush out to find him some nice juicy flies for breakfast. Then the two of us would very merrily go for an ice-cold dip in the lake together.
When my two weeks at summer camp were over, I sadly took Mr. Turtle back to his preferred lake rock, and I let him go.
I still miss that little turtle today since he taught me so much about the joys and mysteries of nature, and I’ve had many turtle pets since that first childhood friend of mine introduced me to their many charms.
And as I grew older, I also began to envy the turtle’s amazing ability to completely immerse itself inside its shell whenever this old world of ours gets just a bit too annoying for them Through the years, I’ve often wished that I could do the same.
And wise old turtles have been around for an extremely long time, outliving almost every other prehistoric animal that once roamed the Earth with them. They must be doing something right.
But even with their extremely successful longevity on Earth, many turtle species are now very sadly endangered in this modern world of ours.
Habitat destruction; global warming, fisheries bycatch; lake and ocean pollution; increased boat strikes; and introduced predators around the globe have now wiped out entire turtle populations, or reduced them to mere shadows of their former glory.
I truly believe that we now need to do everything we can to protect these most intriguing animals from complete extinction.
Future generations of nature loving kids will miss out on observing one of Earth’s most interesting residents if we continue to let our modern callousness, and our modern greed, wipe them off the face of this planet – a planet that they have so very happily inhabited for over 100 million years.
©2006, Ed Kostro
Reader Reviews for
"A Childhood Friend and Teacher"
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|Reviewed by Joyce Bowling
|What a fantastic write...enjoyed it very much..a wise write about nature and the importance of perserving it. I too had a pet turtle as child, as well as a frog, green snake, and even crawdads...but turned them one by one back out to their natural surroundings...enjoyed htis Ed!
|Reviewed by Christelle Harris
|I want to know EVEN MORE! The story could go deep, deep into the friendship you shared. I find myself longing to know about his eyes, his wise nature, his sweet disposition. That would be cool! Great story none the less.
|Reviewed by Anna Marie Fritz (Reader)
I have a painted turtle in the swamp behind the house. I don't encourage him to stay near my pond, as that is where my family of wood frogs, and tree frogs live.
Now, this summer, I have a pet Woodchuck, who loves vanilla creame
cookies. Soon as I get my digital emptied, I will post a shot of him eating his treat.
Say, Ed, how do you go about posting a "page" of pictures, without having to put a separate entry for each?
|Reviewed by K. Mulroney
|Not only was this interesting, but informative. I had two turtles when I was a kid and I felt sorry for them having to live as I PLEASED, so I released them into the pond by our house. Hope they lived a great life! Loved the story!
\/VVV\/ <-------- The Rottie Smile!
|Reviewed by Jill Carpenter
|Ed, the turtle in the photograph almost looks like it has been touched with gold leafing. It's a great oicture (is that you in the picture?).
I really like turtles and believe they have the secret to serenity. They always seem to be at peace with themselves. Well, except snapping turtles, they tend to have an attitude...one of them almost had my pinky toe for lunch once. But I didn't take it personally. :o)
I so enjoy reading your AD pages, Ed, and this story is one of my favorites.
: ) Jill
|Reviewed by Sandra Mushi
|I had a turtle once. No, it was a tortoise. I don't remember much as I was a toddler then. I remember it was so huge - or maybe it seemed huge as I was so small. Lol. Anyway, the little that I remember of it was the good times we had.
God bless, Ed.
|Reviewed by Cynthia Borris
You are the protector of God's gifts - large and small. We have turtles in a nearby lake outlet. They swim and then bask on the tree limbs to sun. I doubt most people know they are there. They are too busy walking by to notice. Lucky me.
Cynthia,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,extra commas compliment of my foster kitten Preston.
|Reviewed by Tinka Boukes
|WOnderful write with the most saddest ending....:)!!
Our grandchildren will miss out on most of it already!!
|Reviewed by Birgit and Roger Pratcher
|Wonderful written, a good pointer to kids and parents on the importance to protect this planet with all it's species.
|Reviewed by Carole Mathys
|A delightful read Ed, children and turtles just go together...
love and peace, Carole
|Reviewed by H. Lena Jones
|How right you are, Ed. Each day the hand of greed keeps grasping away at our world, not caring where it plunders or who it renders poor. Nice heartfelt write!
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|charming read; thanks for sharing this wonderful read! very well done!|
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|enjoyed the read. i enjoy the turtles who come to visit my front porch each am.... living in oklahoma we see both western and eastern box turtles.... never saw either in california sad to say|
|Reviewed by Peter Paton
Being a cancer the crab sign, I have great empathy with the fascinating box turtle, and his innate ability to withdraw into his shell...
Another dazzling nature treatise you offer us this day !