By William

Once the first turtle becomes part of your life and begins to replace other activities and you find most of your day dreams are filled with thoughts of the next turtle, this is influenced and made possible by gazing through pet shop windows or flipping through pages of a book dedicated to turtles written by another obsessed soul. Somehow you arrive at what you just seem to know, what the next turtle will be, is it the shape, the color or the look on it's face or even something as simple as the way a photo in a book presents itself that takes control of all else, who can say and does it really matter ? What has happened is still unclear and it goes without question, you are now obsessed and there is no stopping you now, even the mention of the word ‘turtle’ has your attention, your mind has now become a sponge seeking to absorb information, in my case it was the visit a few times a year at school by a book ordering service, so I scanned the list and marked every book that seemed to fill the need, of course once the price was added up and since parents were the source of the five dollars needed to actually place the order of your dreams, another thought process has brought itself to bear, this process is yet another that will follow you throughout your life, it is developed and refined into a talent even an art form in it's own right.

I had a few hatchling turtles by this point but there was something about one that had some size to it that was beginning to appeal to me, two things happened to start this to collect my thoughts, one was the turtles I had seen at the zoo, the reptile house was a dream come true but here my time was at a limit and second there were the turtles basking in a farm pond that seemed to shine as the sun reflected off their shells, this was a place that time had no boundaries, this was a place that a car was not required to visit and parents were not allowed and this was the place I found my first adult turtle, a beautiful female painted turtle, Not being able to swim and muck and mud to spare, even the leaches that patrolled the shore were no match for my determination, I went it.

I really never gave much thought to where I was going to house this monster that was now safely hidden in my room, I knew I would come up with something and a plan that would work, there was the bathtub, the laundry tub and even the plastic and wire swimming pool and I could rotate these and no one would even notice. Of course I was found out and the prospects were looking grim, "take that thing and put it back where you found it” you can't keep something like that in the house", yes I heard them all but, but is the word that works here, Since no one had any interest in the swimming pool and my room was well below the surface of the soil, a place called a basement with room to spare and scary enough most of the time that no one really cared to venture down there, I began work and her new home was setup and a log and a few choice rocks that somehow managed to grow legs walked from some neighbors yards and found their way into my new pond along with the crude plastic dusty plants of that time, the ones that sat in the living room the ones that were easy to convince my mother were in fact ugly also brought me closer to the setup at the zoo, add a few of the plants that floated on the surface of the pond, this was the ticket to hide the blue colored pool sides and put me into a trance,

The daylight slowly vanished and quiet settled upon the house, it was again time to bring out the books on turtles, I have removed all the leaches and washed away all of the mud, OH, look at this one, it looks like a pancake and what a cool nose, look at those webbed feet and the way it seems to glide across the photo, I must find out where I can find one of these, OH look, the map on this page marks the spot with a darkened area, they live in Illinois, I live there too, I wonder if there are any of these in this pond ? A crisp page is turned to the next, map turtles, WOW!