Timmy the turtle : The legend of Turtle-corner

Relax. We haven’t got yet another animal resident on the farm.

There is possibly no worse case of tragic hopelessness than seeing a turtle on the edge of the bitumen road speedlimited at 100. He’s chosen a sharp corner to attempt the crossing, eyes googling ahead at the beautiful dam on the far side.

With the right epic-sounding music and the sweet tones of David Attenborough’s narration, people would be weeping into their tv guides.

The only thing more tragic is being the driver of the car.
Driving down the road and seeing Timmy’s little outstretched head align itself perfectly with my passenger side wheel was to be my Sunday wildlife experience. (Without the music and David Attenborough).

I had that hateful split-second to decide to swerve in front of on coming traffic to avoid the turtle and his outstretched neck, or simply wipe him off the road. Of course I had to wipe him off the road.

As it was, I mini-swerved and managed to clip only his little exposed head. This flicked him like a worthless pebble onto his back but off the road. I couldn’t stop safely at the time, so I went home.

My “I killed a turtle” sobs spurned Richard into quickly taking 6 bottles of red wine out of a box. I was confused for a moment, thinking he meant me to forget what I had done to Timmy through the powerful magic of wine, or perhaps he intended to block out my ‘turtle sobs’, by having the six bottles himself. Logic prevailed and I realised that of course the box was to rescue Timmy the Turtle (or Tammy)!

Timmy was alive, but bloody. His face didn’t look right. His neck did not look very necklike at all. It wasn’t a patch on the outstretched strength of muscle he’d displayed strutting onto the road as though he were a Teenage Mutant Ninja (turtles in a half shell! – a reference for all you TMNT fans of old).

Yes, it was pretty obvious that Timmy’s ninja days were counting down, the tea party was indeed over. So we took wee Timmy back to our place and made him comfortable on the edge of our dam, around 2pm. We nestled him in some reeds, even putting a little water on his back. Hopefully turtles like that.

The last time I feared for the life of a turtle was in Year 4 in Mrs Mac’s class when a boy called Andrew put 2 baby turtles into the yabbie tank for a laugh. Shy girl vs class bully – I scared that boy that day, and got detention for it.

So here I was on the other end of the story as the perpetrator of violence against turtles.

Timmy was dead when I checked him at 7.30pm and hadn’t moved from his reedy abode. Maybe when he died he believed that he had actually made it across the road to the dam by himself. Maybe he just watched the dragonflies and felt turtley peace. Maybe Timmy forgave me for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I pushed him into the water like in those Arthurian tales and away he went. I thought he would give some nutrient back, but Richard later told me that no, he would just rot and challenge the biodiversity of the dam. Fantastic, so now I could have more death on my hands!

Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. It shouldn’t be a tragic tale about how I took the life of a turtle. It shouldn’t be a hopeless tale about little Timmy’s vain efforts to cross the road, – instead – he’s an inspiration. Faced with a design fault of having excellent armour around every part of your body except your neck and head, he literally stuck his head out and legged it, in that slow turtley way.

If we all took that approach to life, maybe more of us would be dead … no that’s not the thought I’m looking for .. maybe more of us would get where we are going.

There’s a little life lesson in the tale of Timmy.

The place where he was hit is actually called ‘Breakneck Creek’. It really is.

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