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Benson the Box Turtle Goes Free

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When we last left Benson, I was about to pick him up at the Ohio Wildlife Center in Columbus, where he'd spent almost a year convalescing and gaining weight...and color! Here he is with a painful bilateral aural abscess (that's what makes his ears pooch out on the sides).

And here he is nine months later! The red has come back to his eyes! The yellow has come back to his scutes!

Ah, Benson, we hardly knew ye. 

Just lemme go. I see the woods and I wanna go.

Benson had a charmingly hitchy gait, lifting his knees high and setting his feet down with a jerk, like a turtle who had, oh, I don't know, maybe lived in a cardboard box for 20 years...

but he could move, and move he did.

I decided not to take him to the place on Dean's Fork where he'd been abandoned last summer, but to release him on our place. You never know what's going to happen to the forests around here. Most likely, as soon as they near maturity, they'll be cut.

Not ours.

I carried Benson out and left him by a tadpole-filled puddle, the meadow to his right, the woods to his left.

He was still thinking when I left.

 Good luck with your next 75 years, Benson. May you never end up in a cardboard box again.

Note tiny black Pied Mountain Boar in the background. The elusive Skunk-Dog of the Ohio woods.

This post is for my DOD, (Dear Old Dad) who would have turned 100 on June 18, 2012. He was 47 when I came along, the last of five. Little did he know when the nurse announced that he was the proud grampa (!) of yet another girl (the family legend says his face fell...I prefer to think it's because she congratulated him as my grampa) that the girl would follow him everywhere he went and soak up all he had to teach like a thirsty tomato plant. Thank you for all you continue to give me, not least of which is a great love for box turtles, and a resolve to live in the country forever after. You are the BEST. And you're still teaching. Your voice is right here in every word.


Go Benson, Go!
About a week or so ago, I had a student bring me a young box turtle that was in the school parking lot.

Boxter is here somewhere now, crawling around my woods for the same reasons you released Benson on your land.

Funny -- my dad was 50 when I was born, and I followed him everywhere, soaking up his love of nature and wordplay.

Speaking of soaking -- I bet Meyer had a good soak and a poop in that puddle, reveling in his good luck and long-awaited freedom.

Both stories made me tear up--Benson's release (go Benson!!)and your tribute to your Dad.


Posted by Anonymous June 19, 2012 at 9:42 AM

This is a place of a little bit a drama, and a lot of happy endings!
(...and here's hoping Benson found himself a woman; that's what I'd be lookin' fer after 20 yrs. in a cardboard box)

Sniffling a tad as I read and post a comment. Your sweet note to Dad did it.

I love happy endings. :)

Delighted for Boxster and glad you had a day to share the wonders of nature with you.

Posted by Anonymous June 20, 2012 at 5:25 AM

Beautiful post in all the right ways. Hope you will come across Benson often in future years. You will let us know if you see him again, won't you? We all love him now, too.

I see I shared tears with others over Benson and your Father's Day tribute.

Beautiful story in all the right ways. I hope you will come across Benson often in future years. You will let us know if you see him again, won't you? We all love him now, too! I shared tears with your readers over this story and your Father's Day tribute. Lovely.

Where the heck did I get the name Meyer?!? Sheesh, I need a vacation.

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