Dancing Queen and a fine old turtle
Friday April 25th 2008, 11:38 am
Filed under: Amaryllis,Friends

Dancing Queen amaryllisMy friend Nancy was helping me out with some stuff about a month ago, and I gave her her choice of amaryllises in bud to take home. Last night, after our knitting group meeting, she gave me the bulb back and then emailed me a picture of her Dancing Queen while it had been in bloom at her house so I could put it on my blog. Cool. Thank you!

I have to tell you about her turtle, since I have a thing about turtles anyway. She opened her door one day years ago to find a small box turtle on her doorstep, unable to reach the doorbell but trying to knock to come on in. Well, hello, who are you?

See that area behind the amaryllis? The rock, the cactus? Her house has an enclosed atrium: you walk in the front door to a glass-covered outdoorsyish spot, complete with bubbling fountain and plants growing in the ground, a greenhouse, basically. Continue down the flagstone pathway, enter the sliding glass doors looking onto the atrium, and you’re the rest of the way inside.

I grew up next to a ten-mile long watershed preserve in Maryland, where people didn’t fence off their yards and the wildlife was pretty prevalent in the heavy woods surrounding the houses. We had box turtles in the backyard munching on the jack-in-the-pulpits and mayapples in the understory. But here in California, the housing is far more dense and the creeks were turned into cemented-in troughs decades ago to keep them in their places. (After 21 years here, I still wince. It’s just so wrong.)

Somehow Nancy’s turtle had survived all that development. She and her husband took care of it for decades, and when it finally passed on, the vet had guessed its age to be 130. It had seen Mark Twain’s day.

And it had beaten every odd thrown against it, and at about 100, had found the place where it was welcome and warm and comfortable and fed and had lived surprisingly long and quite happily ever after.

Go Nancy.

(Update a little later: Nancy just called. We talked about her turtle, and she said its carapace now belongs to a turtle group that takes it to schools to teach with. So its shell lives on doing good.)

7 Comments so far
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way cool turtle story! and the amarylis is beautiful too.

Comment by marti 04.25.08 @ 12:04 pm

Wow… I love how he ‘found’ her, I love those turtles and tortoises, they’re really quite incredible… and how sad, the development of the land, I’m wincing also.

Comment by marianne 04.25.08 @ 2:17 pm

Beautiful Dancing Queen!!
Lovely turtle story;turtles are so cool.

Comment by Toni 04.25.08 @ 5:47 pm

That is incredible about the turtle! WOW

Comment by Amanda 04.26.08 @ 1:19 pm

Turtles are amazing. We came home one day after work and found one very deliberately walking up our driveway. Never found out who it belonged to, and since we had big dogs at the time, we gave it to a local nature center.

Comment by Linda W 04.26.08 @ 10:20 pm

There were so many box turtles in my youth. Thanks for the fond remembrances!

Comment by Channon 04.27.08 @ 7:06 am

My daughter loves turtles/tortoises and we have as a member of our family Torie – a Russian Tortoise. She will likely outlive us all and for some reason, I find that oddly comforting. How great that your friend’s box turtle lived so long! We have had NUMEROUS box turtles, but they never seem to make it for very long – perhaps they come to us ill. Whatever the case, many thousand of years from now, archeologists digging in what will “have been” our backyard will think that a society of turtle worshippers lived around the beginning of the 21st century – as evidenced by the numerous graves so carefully housing the remains of these tiny friends! BTW, have you seen the Knitty pattern for “Sheldon”? He’s a cutie but not nearly as personable as the real deal! Maybe a “Sheldon in a Shawl” would be an appropriate commemoration of the dearly-departed box turtle?! Just a thought!

Comment by Tammy Morrow 04.30.08 @ 7:49 pm

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