Well, it’s officially spring again, and today and yesterday I’ve been able to do something that I wasn’t able to do for nearly two years. Every since I seriously injured my right leg and ankle, breaking it when I took a tumble on my kitchen tile, I’ve been pretty much incapacitated. Even now, it’s slow going. The good news is, though, that I’m finally back into a tennis shoe and am using a cane, and thus this means that I am walking again! I’m not using a wheelchair anymore or a walker.
So, yesterday, I ventured out to the back of my little property and studied the unfortunate stagnating pond and waterfall that have been shut down since my unfortunate spill. The pond is surrounded by a large, completely fenced in habitat that I refer to as “Reptile Riviera.” It was built by two loving, generous friends of mine, who know my animal fixation. They agreed that my two turtle friends needed an outdoor pond so that they would be truly blissful, and so that I could sit by the waterfall on the benches and watch them swim in all of their great delight.
Well, yesterday, my child and I went about draining the pond and attempting to scoop out the mess of dead leaves and rotting mulch that had found its way into the pond. We drained the pond nearly all the way down, up to the pump, and then refilled it. I de-chlorinated it and applied another pond chemical that makes the water healthier, and then we went and got the turtles out of their indoor winter pond. They come inside into this indoor pond when it gets cold, usually about late October and then they go back outside in late April.
Lucky and Redlet have not been outside in nearly two years, though, because of my leg, so they looked around inside of the habitat as if they were dreaming; I could see that it seemed rather surreal to them and that they weren’t quite sure they wouldn’t be snatched back into the indoor pond again. Redlet headed to the fence to peer out, but Lucky, the biggest turtle, headed right to the pond, toward the waterfall. She’s the size of a large dinner plate and is an aquatic River Cooter. I just adore her.
She was run over on a nearby highway and was nearly dead when I stopped my truck and rescued her. I nursed her back to health, but the top of her shell was broken off so she will always have to stay in captivity. Little Redlet arrived in the yard about a year later. He was so tiny, I was afraid I would run over him with the riding mower, so I went ahead and introduced him to Lucky. The two of them seem to love one another, so it’s been pretty cool.
Anyway, these turtles are both in the pond by now, and they are happy! The sun is shining, the water is about 72.5 degrees F. They are swimming and diving, and the waterfall is running merrily, making a lovely splashing sound. I sit myself, sunning, on one of the benches, studying them silently. I was secretly relieved that they were doing what turtles love to do, out where they belong again, where they can bask in the sun to their heart’s delight. I felt like such a good turtle-mom. There’s nothing quite like sitting by my pond and thinking, daydreaming, or just watching my babies swim, knowing they are happy in their element.