Thomas Wolfe wrote, "You can't go home again." Well, today I took the turtle home.
Jeremiah found him, just a hatchling, on one of our fishing trips last June, and we brought him home in half a pop bottle. We tentatively named him "Fi'ty Cent" because he was about the size of a fifty-cent piece, but we usually just called him "The Turtle." As in, "Have you fed The Turtle today?"
He's had a few adventures, as on the day he was set out on the deck in his pan to sun and he got out, took a dive off the deck--a good ten feet--and wandered around until I found him hours later under a bush, hot and dusty.
Now he's as big as a silver dollar, and old enough to take care of himself. So today I took him back to the lake of his birth and set him free right where we had found him. My hope is that instinct will tell him what to do, and that soon he will burrow into the mud and hibernate the winter away, emerging next Spring to the beginning of a long, happy life. I'm sure we'll look for him then, and that from now on, whenever we see a turtle at that lake we'll ask, "Do you think that's our turtle?"
He looked around for awhile, then toddled into the water, took one look back at me and went on his way.
Robert Frost wrote, "Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in." I think the lake will do that. Welcome home, Turtle.