Lessons From a Snapping Turtle

This morning on my way to work, I came upon a snapping turtle in the oncoming lane. I quickly pulled into that lane and backed up with my car's flashers on. I wanted to prevent an oncoming car from smashing this turtle flat.

I quickly got out of my car and went back to inspect the turtle to make sure he wasn't already injured. He was huge. I am guessing he was about 18" round, and to my delight, he wasn't hurt.

File photo, not the actual turtle from this morning.
Next, I went about trying to move him. I tried to move him first with the tip of my shoe. I quickly figured out that was not a good idea. He lashed out at me and tried to bite my foot. Not to mention, he was heavy, had a low center of gravity and claws that were digging into the road which made moving him not so easy.

I went over to my car and grabbed my mono pod out of my trunk and used it to try to push him off the road. That wasn't easy either. I was surprised at how quick he was. He did his best to keep himself facing me. So I had to run around him to get him off balance enough to get the monopod under him so I could get enough leverage to get him moving in the direction I wanted him to go.

Finally, I was able to get him moved off the road. But as I drove away, I begin to think, question, and wonder if he would survive. I wondered if I moved him to the correct side of the road? Then I started relating the turtle rescue to my encounters with humans over the years.

Here are a few of my insights and lessons I took away from the turtle rescue, as it relates to human on human interactions:


  1. We don't always know where someone is in their life when we first meet them. Just like this turtle, I really did not know where he came from and where he was going too. We shouldn't assume we know what is best for people based on our own observations alone. You have to try to get to know people. A first encounter isn't usually enough to establish a relationship and know what someone really needs.
  2. We need to realize that people were managing before we came along. This turtle was huge. That alone shows that he was a survivor before I came along. So don't automatically assume that people need you to save them. They were managing to make it before they ever met you. It may appear that your help is necessary, but until you know something about them, you have no way of knowing what they really need.
  3. People don't always appreciate it when you try to help. This turtle was clearly in danger. He was in a slight curve in the road and oncoming cars may not realize what he was until it was too late. Something had to be done. But that didn't mean that he appreciated my help. The main reason is, he probably didn't see the danger he was in, there in the middle of the road. So sometimes you have to help to fix an immediate problem. But that doesn't mean they are going to like your help. This turtle was hissing and snapping at me the entire time. Sometimes people don't react well to your attempts to help. But you still must try to help them, if there is an imminent danger to them.
  4. You cannot always hang around to see how things turn out. After trying to help this turtle and finally getting him off the road, I could not hang around to see how it all turned out. I had no idea if he would be happy on the side of the road I put him on, or if he will just walk right back out into danger. I hoped and prayed he stayed out of harms way. Many times when we help people we cannot be there all the time to make sure that they are going to be okay. This is a normal part of life. We all have commitments, places we have to be, and other people who are depending on us. You should not feel guilty when you have to go take care of other things. Sometimes people will try to make you feel guilty when you have to leave. These folks feel helpless and try to make you feel like you are abandoning them when you have to move on. But the truth is, that is not fair. No one can stop their life and always be there. So feel good that you helped in the first place. When you can, check in with those you help. But don't buy into the guilt trip. 
Well, I guess you all can see why I call this new blog Eddie's Misc Ramblings. This is a good example of how I think and how my mind works. I hope you enjoy reading my blog posts. I will try to post here as regularly as I can. Have a great rest of the week. 



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