Driving up the glorious George's Gap road yesterday I spotted a high domed beauty of a turtle crossing the road.  He was almost at the top of the ridge headed down the mountain , or he was certainly pointed in that direction.

His descent promised to be a dangerous one down the switchback filled mountain road so I picked him up , put him in the car and gave him a ride down to the last curve before the valley begins.  And he moved on down through the woods toward the small creek with all the haste a terrapin could possibly make when I put him on the ground.

His carapace must have been at least four inches high, glossy and perfect.  A walking piece of magic I have not seen for a few years, in the woods anyway,  he renewed a bit of hope in the animal kingdom's ability to survive the modern world.

I thought he was just fabulous although not everyone seems to agree with me.  The turtle is North Carolina's state reptile but not Virginia's as their legislature believed this remarkable creature to be "too cowardly" to represent the state as she hides inside her shell when threatened.  So sayeth Senator Knucklehead.  And the rest of the idiots agreed.I can't help but laugh.  What else can you do?

There are many American Indian tribe who reserve a place of honor for the turtle, so much so that the whole of the world is called 'Turtle Island'.  And rather than cowardice the turtle is a living symbol of long life, protection and fertility.  Symbols of healing, wisdom and spirituality.

Me?  I'm on the island side of the turtle.  I took a good long look at him (I think him as the underside was a bit more concave than flat) before I put him down and in holding him I was returned to a state of wonder that lasted all day.

His claws were sharp, his eyes were clear and he was filled with vigor.  He's ready for whatever comes his way. I don't know if he needed a ride from me or not.  I can only hope I helped him out.  I know he helped me.