You never know what a morning can bring you. There is coffee, breakfast – the normal things. But I do not live a “normal” life.
I was awake all throughout the night. Nothing was wrong. It was just one of those nights. I moved from the bedroom to the couch, watched some television, then went back to bed. When I could no longer deny I was not going to sleep, I got up.
Tara was already awake & ready. That’s right – READY!
It was morning. Time to look for an opossum.
(Trust me, dear Reader, my wife is a relentless, motivated woman. When she wants something, she works & is dedicated to getting it. Hell, she waited & waited & waited for 20 plus years to wrangle me. – And she won! So the desire for her to save an opossum is going to happen… well, one way or another, she is going to save one, or a dozen.)
So it was time to get on the road. We needed to go to the store, anyway.
It was a beautiful morning. In the South, morning time is a time of colors. Right now, everything is turning green & lush & BIG. The hills & mountains seem to have grown since winter – trees stretching out their arms with fresh, green leaves. Grass growing like mad in the fields.
It has been strange mornings: me, barely awake, barely human – it takes me about two hours of ingesting medicines & cigarettes before I am a “functioning” human being – riding along the backcountry roads, looking for the fresh roadkill.
I know, I know, it sounds awful & hillbilly & freakish. My wife is a humanitarian. A deeply, hardcore-I-don’t-give-a-damn-about-what-people-think-humanitarian. She is going to save the baby opossums, by god. And she takes her husband along.
I have been on some weird trips before, but nothing is compared to being half-awake looking at animal corpses on the side of the road, cars & trucks with their drivers giving me the odd, bewildered expression that borders on confusion & disgust.
This is my life, I think to myself while prying the stiff-from-rigor-mortis legs of a run opossum corpse, finding out it’s male. One more let-down.
We start driving back to the Compound: our home/farm/haven.
We were driving traveling up HWY 64, rounding the curves & bullshitting about how odd it was there were so few animals killed on the road. Both of us were born & raised in the Ohio countryside. Where we grew up, it seemed there was a dead deer, raccoon, or dog every quarter of a mile, down any number of back roads.
And that’s when we spotted it!
It looked like a rock to me. A medium-sized rock, in the middle of the road.
“TURTLE!” My wife screamed.
We turned the vehicle around, driving back to the “rock.”
My wife got out, traffic whizzing past her, & she knelt down, picking up this thing that was, literally, on the yellow line painted on the road.
And she was right. It was a turtle! And the poor bastard had been run over, the shell broke & chipped. He was alive, however, & responding to touch. I would take my finger & place it in the middle of his clawed, webbed feet, & his leg would move.
It was a Box Turtle. His head was safely protected within the shell. He was hurt bad, though. Tara & I had the conversation about me putting him out of his misery. This did not sit well with my wife. Desperate times call for irrational & desperate decisions: she called a vet. That’s right, dear Reader, she called a vet. – And the vet TOOK A TURTLE IN! Yes, yes. We drove an hour away to a veterinarian’s office for this Box Turtle to go into surgery.
That’s the name my wife gave to this crushed creature.
We left him at Dr. Dunning’s office in Morganton.
What will happen? Will he survive?
I don’t know…
What I do know is I witnessed a wonderful woman that values the life of animals. Hell, she values the lives of animals more than she does most people. And I don’t blame her. I never heard of a Box Turtle hurting anyone.
I will keep you updated on his progress if there is any. And if there is not, I’ll inform you of that, as well.