Our first day exploring nature during this period of seclusion took us near wetlands. In the distance moving towards the dirt road was this, huh, thing that was moving in our direction. Larger than any animal we had seen that day, we held our ground but ready to retreat if necessary.
As this sinister looking creature came into view, it appeared to be a snapping turtle. A very large snapping turtle.
In my younger years, I had a lot of experiences with this kind of turtle. They are aggressive with a powerful jaw and neck. When challenged or hunting, I have seen them lunge with the suddenness of a snake. If their prey escapes the snapper’s grip, they generally don’t survive the infection caused by the reptile’s bacteria filled bite. Even modern medicine doesn't guarantee the victim a full recovery.
But my first memory of a snapping turtle goes back to the early 60s when my aunt made soup from them. She was a great country cook but I never partook of the delicacy. Apparently folks still make soup from snappers and a full grown turtle like the size of this guy could bring $300 according to a website I looked at. Believe me, this fellow faced no danger of becoming dinner from either one of us.
Careful not to aggravate the snapping turtle, Scott and I studied it from a safe distance through the zoom of the camera lens.
What an unusual looking critter, like something that could have come from the Stone Age. It’s claws had thick heavy nails and the tail was spiny. But the shell seemed small when compared to other land turtles which didn’t seem to offer much protection to the head, legs or tail. The turtle’s best defense was probably a good offense. Of course being near the top of the food chain was also a good compensation for the small house it carried on its back.
Our time with the snapper ended when it elevated itself up on surprisingly long legs and continued on its journey. It projected a feeling of calm, a knowing of when to attack, of determination, of strength and power.
So I ask, when does beauty have to be seen with our eyes to be called beautiful?