I was just minutes away from arriving at the ultimate 2020 spring break destination when an almost unthinkable thing almost happened… almost! Driving on a two-lane road I could see in the distance something in the middle of my lane. I’m sure you’ve seen this before: a turtle slowly crossing the road. After passing him, I slowed to a stop and ran back to assist him in his adventurous kamikaze-like mission.
Only one problem… an oncoming car. I was so sure the driver would see me standing on the side of the road, and therefore be attentive to what’s happening in front of them. Also, it’s important to note the speed limit on this road was 45, so this car was not going slow by any means. I could see the driver’s face. She wasn’t looking at me (that’s good, I guess) but she also was not showing a look of attentiveness. My gaze lowered to the car’s tires. Wouldn’t you know the turtle was in the exact WRONG spot, perfectly lined up in the path of this this vehicle of death!
No exaggeration, at the very last second the driver became fully aware of what was about to happen, so she swerved sharply away from the turtle and onto the sandy shoulder of this coastal road. The thing is, now the car was coming for me! Was I willing to die so this turtle could live? I hadn’t thought that far ahead, to be honest.
Almost involuntarily I shifted into a 3-point stance like I was playing defense against Michael Jordan. I don’t know why my body did this, I guess it was just a response to the oncoming threat. In a split second I thought that whichever way the car went to avoid me (to my left or to my right) I would throw my body in the other direction. Think of a soccer goalie during a penalty kick, heaving their body towards the ball, except the exact opposite.
Now I saw panic on the driver’s face as she hurdled towards me. I guess I can be most thankful for the sandy shoulders on either side of the road because the car slowed down quite a bit as the driver and her passenger regained control and slowly drove by me on my left side. After they moved back onto the road to continue their drive, I ran out to grab the turtle, who certainly had a story to tell his other turtle friends that day.
As I set him in the nearby brush, folks in a convertible passed by and affirmed my good deed. I’m always happy to stop and help turtles in dangerous situations, and this one could have been traumatic in about 27 different ways! I’m so glad it wasn’t.
-Out of the Wilderness