Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Snapping Turtle That Ate Milwaukee!



It was a classic Monster Movie motif; big city traffic jam confronted by raging prehistoric monster. South of Milwaukee, I was diverted off the highway and straight into its path. But no screaming pedestrians, no thump thump thump of police helicopters, no city bus lifted to the monster's bloodshot eye. Just an ancient Snapping Turtle lumbering across the pavement.

He was huge for a turtle. In each cautious step, a foot would stretch forward, almost pointing the toe and then drop to the ground. Each stride just less than the reach of his toe, oddly mimicking the strut of a majorette. In a panic, his neck stretched impossibly far out of his shell, like he was taking turtle enhancement supplements. Yet he stared straight ahead and strode on like a general into battle. Rather than medals, he wore a shawl of moss. It looked less like a turtle shell than an old stump crawling out of the swamp.

The detour had taken me off the highway. The road widened into two lanes just as I spotted the majestic turtle. I made an exaggerated arc into the left lane and around him. The first several cars behind me caught my drift and followed me around him. It was a good start. I hope he made it.

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