I struggled with how to continue with this story. As readers of this blog know, I had great hopes of Mr. Turtle ringing in the beginning of spring as he had done so many times in the past. It was one of those early extra warm spring days in March when I realized that Mr. Turtle probably didn’t make it. A quick check did indeed prove out my worst fears. Mr. Turtle had passed on. His state of decomposition told me that it had only been a short time since he had died, perhaps struggling to come out of his hibernation but not quite making it. I had read that for turtles coming out of hibernation, it is a dangerous time since they are barely alive in this stage. Maybe his age caught up to him like it will for all of us. Maybe his will to go on wasn’t strong enough (Mrs. Turtle met a tragic end in a traffic accident last year). Whatever the reason, Mr. Turtle was gone, leaving his shell behind as a memorial. I thought about what I should do with that shell and finally settled on just leaving it under the apple tree near where he made his last resting place. A rather fitting memorial for a turtle, much like we use a headstone. As long as the shell is there, he won’t be forgotten.
That being said, Mr. Turtle may have left another reminder of his presence behind. Last weekend, not too far from his final resting place, a somewhat familiar face showed itself from the tall grass. Without DNA testing, there’s no way of knowing if it was indeed Mr. Turtle II, but there sure was quite a resemblance. This young turtle has a mighty big shell to fill, but I’m hoping to see him wandering around for many years to come, just like Mr. Turtle. The turtle flame has been passed on!