Have you ever seen a turtle or a gopher tortoise run, I mean really put on some speed? Did you even think it was possible? If you are anything like me, I always thought the story of the”Tortoise and the Hare” was a true one, at least the basics of the children’s tale anyway; that “slow and steady won the race”. Well, I’m telling you right now, Aesop’s fables are really fables to be sure, as there is no way said hare stopped to take any nap; he wouldn’t have had time to even catch his breath if he ever met the gopher tortoises that live in my neck of the woods.
A few years ago my better half and I moved to the outskirts of a tiny, one-light-town in search of a little peace and quiet, with no vehicle congestion and a bit of solace in our surroundings. We thought we had found our little slice of paradise. But one day, while he and I were planting some bamboo in the back of the property, I noticed movement behind us out of the corner of my eye, and lo’ and behold, there were a couple of tortoises trucking along the edge of our property and our neighbor’s looking like they were on a mission from GOD.
We spun around and watched in mock-horror how quickly these huge tortoises could move their little legs. Side-by-side the two of them; a couple in unison, trucked faster than I’d ever seen any kind of turtle run. And I do mean run, they were moving faster than I could trying to catch up with them. They were heading east-bound on the track of property that lies between our neighbor’s backyard and ours.
There happens to be a cleared space which looks much like a “green highway” attaching the state forest to another copse of trees beyond our properties. Funny enough, while the two speeding tortoises were whizzing by, another two tortoises (just like the former) were running along side each other heading west, back towards the state forest. We couldn’t believe our eyes! It truly was a “green highway” and they seemed to be following some kind of unspoken rules about staying on their side of the track; only backwards (like they were in England or something; driving on the wrong side of the road).
We couldn’t contain our laughter at the sight of the four tortoises pursuing their speedy missions. I fell down laughing (yeah, literally ROTFL), and my better half took off following the two heading east to see if he could gather what their hurry was and where the heck they were running to (or from). We never did find out what their hurry was, nor what they were up to speeding along the runway, but every-once-in-awhile we’ll catch sight of a tortoise making his way along our “green highway”. You know, we both thought we were getting away from the speeding traffic, but wild critters have taken the place of cars racing by. And as far as Aesop goes; he’s full of it.