The riding lawnmower was over the turtle before I realized what was happening.
Our property is on a lake. We discovered several years ago that turtles will leave the water and crawl 100 yards or more, through the trees and bushes, to dig a hole in our yard and bury their eggs.
Last year, as I was mowing, I saw what looked like a brown plastic bowl in the grass. As I got closer, I discovered it was a turtle. She had already dug a deep hole and appeared ready to deposit her eggs. I left the mower and walked to the house, giving her time to finish her mission.
This year, I didn’t see the turtle.
Maybe I was lost in thought. Maybe I was trying to get the yard mowed before it rained. Maybe it was just one of those things. But I sure feel awful about it. There is no doubt I killed it. You can picture a 46” mowing deck on a riding mower plowing over a helpless turtle. “Oh, the humanity.”
I yelled out a curse into the air.
Later, as my wife and I were taking the dog for a walk, she told me she heard my loud exclamation from the deck. She asked me what had happened? I recounted the incident, cleaning up the details. What I did say was how sad it made me feel to have done that.
How could I not see it? Why wasn’t I paying better attention? I saw the turtle last year. I saw it way before I would have run over it. Yet this year, my mind must have been elsewhere.
I should be living in the moment.
Had I been more focused on the path, I might have seen the turtle. I might have saved it. I might have been telling a David Attenborough story right now, not the story of a turtle killer. Yet I know life happens. Accidents occur even when we are completely present. So, I will try to make my peace with this unfortunate incident. But I still feel awful.
It seemed appropriate that shortly after I mowed over the turtle, a heavy downpour occurred. I envisioned the rain washing away and cleansing the pieces of the turtle. Thinking of this made me feel better, but it didn’t change the outcome for the turtle.
Life lesson. Things happen.
I will carry this experience with me, and work on being more present. Knowing it’s the egg-laying season for the turtles, I will be more vigilant next week when I mow.
Do you carry experiences like this with you? Your comments are appreciated.