Jul 24, 2010

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Today I received word from my mom that my beloved friend Bubba the box turtle had died.

Bubba and I went way back. Fourteen years in fact. That summer I got my first real mountain bike, a Schwinn Moab 3. One day I was riding through the spillway below the damn at Tuttle Creek Lake. A flood three years earlier gouged millions of years of soil and rock from the surface of the spillway, leaving behind the bare bedrock that once formed the sandy bottom of a giant inland sea during the Permian Period. The terraced surface of which was now a perfect place for a 14-year-old wanna be mountain biker to ride.

Our paths crossed as my front tire rolled over his shell, sending him tumbling sideways.

I picked him up and dusted him off, noting that he had a small chip on the back of his shell but was none the worse for our encounter. Rather than set him upright and allow him to continue doing, whatever turtles do... I dubbed him 'Bubba' and promptly stuck him in my jersey pocket. Not one release any reptile or amphibian I found, I decided to bring him home and cordon off a 10' x10' section of our backyard which would become my turtle nature preserve and his new home.

Bubba seemed quite content with his surroundings. He would even come when called — knowing there was a worm or strawberry to be had by making an appearance.  In the winters he was housed in a small box in the basement, where he would hibernate until it was warm enough to return to his summer residence.

He was fully grown when I ran him over in 1996 and lived quite happily in captivity for 14 more years. Not a bad life for a turtle.

Bubba the Ornate Box Turtle (19?? - 2010)