When I was little, every year a turtle would slowly wander into our yard. She was a big turtle, maybe about 12 inches across her hard, patterned shell. She was various shades of green, and her legs came out to the sides, showing her little claws when she walked. You could also see her little tail poking out of the back of her shell.
It was interesting to see her long, green neck, and how she could pull her head into her shell. She was such an intriguing creature!
Each year she went to the same place at the edge of the garden in our back yard. There, she would lay her eggs. When one of us saw her, we would excitedly call the others to watch her through the window. We only saw her for a few weeks then had to wait until the same season a year later to see her again.
One year, she did not come to our house. We worried that she might have gotten hurt, or worse.
The following year, as my mom drove me and my brother to the local pool, through the foresty streets shaded by tall trees, I saw the turtle slowly walking on the side of the road.
She had a necklace of wildflowers around her neck. The long flower stems were braided to create a long circle that hung from her neck and almost touched the ground as she walked. Someone had made her a beautiful gift, and she looked lovely!
Although we cannot be sure she was our turtle, I truly believe she was.
Sometimes I think about her, and how the visit of an animal can make such a difference in a person’s life. So next time you see an animal wander by, remember to see the beauty it brings.