Strange Day

Herbert the Turtle.

Yesterday, I had an extremely strange day at least by what I am used to. It started off like any other day, getting up around 9:00 am which is my normal time unless I have other plans. My excuse for not getting up early is that I have nothing much to do that is urgent. Anyway, I don’t get to bed until midnight and sometimes later depending on what movie or soccer game I am watching. The dogs don’t even wake up at least not enough to make me get up. So, consequently, we just lie there with all of us snoozing away. Eventually, I make a move and crawl out of bed and the dogs don’t move until I am ready to hop into the hot tub, an early morning ritual, to loosen up the achy bones and joints. Amazing what 100 degree water will do to a body when it immersed. I have had a hot tub, this being my second one, since I moved into this house in 1985. Originally, it was to ease the aches and pains from always training and playing soccer which I have done all of my life retiring from the sport when I was 72 years old. That was brought on by having a knee replaced as I wore the damn thing out with so much activity. I was able to forego replacing the other knee even as it grew a little distorted with the missing cartilage but as has not cause me any pain and discomfort as the other one did. I walk with a limp due to the lack of cartilage on the outer side. It does not affect my hiking and I am a great believer in the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Once up, the first thing is to walk outside and check the ponds for any overnight occurrences and at the same time, feed the fish. If there is nothing demanding immediate attention, we all go back indoors and I set about feeding the dogs. My dogs are very fussy eaters especially Sandy and sometimes she just turns her nose up to the food I offer her even though it is the same food as she ate yesterday. Needless to say, I leave it sitting in her bowl and eventually, late in the afternoon, she will eat it. Mikey, on the other hand, is a good little eater except he is not consistent and sometime will go all day without eating except for a dog biscuit or something similar. Then he will eat his food sometime in the night as by morning, his bowl is clean.

Then I fix my own breakfast and coffee and settle down in front of the computer to check emails and answer any that require it. Usually, at this point, it depends on what I have planned which is usually some project or another out in the yard if I haven’t planned on a hike somewhere with my friend BJ. This will take me the rest of the day and by late afternoon, it’s time to take the dogs for a walk.

Yesterday, for some reason, things were different. Everything was fine through checking emails and when I went outside to see what needed to be done, somehow, I ended up in a chair on the deck in front of the 5000 gallon pond just watching the fish and then the turtles as they climbed out of the water to sun themselves. I could see the small fry from this years hatching as they darted about. I was surprised how many of them there were as I fully expected the turtles and fish would be chasing them to eat them. Maybe that happens more by accident than intent as the fry are very fast swimmers. Altogether, there were seven different turtles that I counted all at one time sunning themselves ranging in size from about three inches to Herbert, our adoptee who probably measures at least seven inches long. Herbert was the subject of another blog when he was brought to me by his caregiver after spending eleven years in an aquarium. She deemed it time for him to lead a more natural life. You can read about Herbert here. I sat there, so engrossed in watching them for nearly four hours. I may even have dozed off in that time. It was a beautiful sunny day and not too hot with the temperatures in the low eighties and I was at peace with the world. The dogs sat with me occasionally running off and barking at something that only they could see. They always returned and sat quietly until the next thing came along to distract them.

One turtle that I did not see was Clarence who is the biggest of them all. He measures close to 12 inches in length and his shell height is probably around 8 inches. I rescued him off a busy highway several years ago. Turns out that Clarence had emigrated to a different pond, the one that is shut down although it still has water in it from the recent rains and waiting to be filled in. I saw him sunbathing on one of the plants still in the pond.

We spent most of the afternoon with me sitting in that chair and the dogs keeping me company. Needless to say, I had absolutely no energy to embark on anything that required physical work but I sure was at peace with the world. Eventually, the dogs stirred enough to indicate that it was time to go for a walk and to hell with this sitting around on the deck. So, I made the effort and we spent the next hour walking in our neighborhood and we managed to cover a little over two miles. All was not lost with this effort but I have never before in my life just sat and watched the world go by.
I must be getting old…

Incidentally, the next day as I was walking by the 5000 gallon pond, Mikey started barking and he had “found” Clarence who was walking towards that pond. We watched and he slid quickly into the water. A couple of hours later, he was in the 6000 gallon pond sunbathing on the stones set up for them to do just that. He sure likes to travel around. I’m sure it is the same turtle although there are no distinctive markings and as far as I know, there is only one really big turtle in all of the ponds.

Written 5/18/2020