Frog Nights and Turtle Days

TurtleCrossingOn certain warm rainy days that end in damp warm evenings (even in November), frogs take to the road out here in northern Massachusetts. I suspect the glacial pond-holding pockets have something to do with it. I grew up in a town of less than 3,000 people, surrounded by fields of Holstein cows and chicken coops. And sure, we had frogs. Living many subsequent years in the city of New Haven, I lost touch with animals, except for the canine ones that lived with us. I find myself back in the country again, dodging frogs on the slim, curving roads. Luckily, the frog nights do not seem to coincide with turtle days.

We have a turtle warden for our part of town. Once again, the necklace of small ponds and vernal pools is the source of the turtles. I may or may not have the eco-facts right here, but trust me when I say that turtle crossing signs are a common sight. Said turtles are snappers, painted turtles and the more rare, endangered Blanding’s turtle.  I knew I had become a resident the first time I stopped for a turtle and fulfilled my moral obligation. Stop traffic. Pick up turtle and move it to the side of the road in the direction in which it was travelling.  Luckily I’ve not yet had to help a cranky snapping turtle. People carry snow shovels in their trunks to transport snappers.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people helped each other move in the direction in which they sought to move? If we watched out for each other on nights that were darker, dimmer than the rest?

I’ve been writing for quite a few years now. First as a journalist and then as a fiction writer. I also have a day job writing for a wonderful nonprofit organization. I get to tell stories about people’s lives. The stories that knock me off my feet are always the ones where someone takes the time to watch out for someone else. It inspired my October Run. It flat-out inspires me. My mindfulness has risen another notch, living in a place of frog nights and turtle days.

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