Friday, July 17, 2009

The Curious Adventures of Jade the Tortoise

The other day, while returning from a jaunt in the pasture, I edged along the dog fence and caught sight of something curious. The three hounds were sniffing and pawing at a round object that I at first glance took to be a buffalo chip with the word DADDY written on it (the mind is a curious thing, you know). A closer observation showed that the lump was in fact the shell of a box turtle, branded in large white letters with JADE. I wondered if Jade’s darling pet had gotten loose, but then realized that Jade was probably the turtle’s name. Huh. The dachshund was beginning to gnaw on the edge of the shell, so I hopped the fence to rescue the poor creature. I picked it up to have a better look, noting that its shell was also adorned with glitter nail polish. When I turned it around to face me, the hinge opened a peep and two indignant, glaring red eyes stared back. Then the hinge slammed back shut, and that was that. In that short instant, though, I had noticed that the coloration on the tortoise’s head and feet pointed to the likelihood of its being male. Poor Jade. I hope he’s secure in his masculinity.

Well, I carried Jade safely away from the prying jaws of the dogs and set him down gingerly in the pasture. He seemed bound and determined to stay tightly clamped in his shell, but when I returned later, he was long gone off somewhere—on a new adventure, no doubt. I rather pictured him slowly and determinedly crawling, crawling, crawling back to his home and the little girl who named him, à la The Incredible Journey. Heh.

But I had to wonder exactly where he had been in his travels. The nearest house with children is the better part of a mile away, and they don’t seem like the type who would decorate a pet tortoise and set him free. So where had ol’ Jade come from? And where was he headed off to? I read online that box turtles can live for 40 years or more. That’s a long time for little nondescript reptile. I bet he’s traveled the country; I bet he’s enjoyed the freedom of the open road; I bet he’s sired hundreds of turtle babies (turtlets?) that hatched from their eggs and stumbled out to meet the bright, fast world. By now Jadey-boy’s probably halfway to Arkansas, where he’s meeting up with some long-lost amigos for a Kerouac-style adventure.

I would have snapped a picture of his brief detour and visit, but alas! my digital camera broke and I’m most forlorn. Damn.


secret agent woman said...

Interesting. I wonder if someone is missing him now?

Mozart said...

No telling. I figured it was someone's way of identifying him in case he showed back up in the garden one day, but who knows?