I’ve often promulgated myself as some sort of holier-than-thou path-side environmentalist. I’ve yammered on and on about removing trash which, in theory, might find a way to waterways and into the gullets of unsuspecting and innocent creatures.
This morning I’ve been knocked off my self-created pedestal.
While driving last night, I came across an Eastern Box turtle square in the middle of the road, its neck craned outward and upward in alarm as if to say ‘What the hell is that big thing coming toward me?’ I could see I would miss the large, beautiful and slow moving beast. I quickly scanned my rearview mirror. Cars were several hundred yards behind me; I’d have time to stop, put on my flashers, and pick up the turtle to accelerate its movement to the other side of the street.
But no. In my self-important haste I decided against it. Instead, I thought, I’ll check in on her/him on the return leg.
My errand done, I retraced my route to the very spot where the turtle was simply trying to move from Point A to Point B. I slowed to a near stop to survey if the creature had made it across safely.
To my undying horror, it had not. The spot was now a murder scene. The lovely turtle I could have saved had been run over, it’s shell exploded and the contents crushed over a small area. In that moment, a great sadness came over me.
I was the de facto killer, perhaps even moreso than the driver of the vehicle who actually committed the deed. All my posturing as a protector of animals was now muted and lessened. If only I’d stopped to gently lift the turtle on its merry way.
Instead, I became Dave the killer.