Let my whole being bless the Lord!  You put gushing springs into dry riverbeds.  They flow between the mountains, providing water for every wild animal—the wild donkeys quench their thirst.  Overhead, the birds in the sky make their home, chirping loudly in the trees.  You make grass grow for cattle.  The Lord’s trees are well watered—the cedars of Lebanon, which God planted, where the birds make their nests, where the stork has a home in the cypresses.  The high mountains belong to the mountain goats; the ridges are the refuge of badgers.  The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.  When the sun rises, they gather together and lie down in their dens.  Lord, you have done so many things!  You made them all so wisely! The earth is full of your creations!  (Excerpt from Psalm 104, Common English Bible)

On Friday I was up in Massachusetts with my best friend.  Central/Western Mass ends up being the perfect meeting place since she serves a church in New Hampshire and I’m serving here in Colchester.  We went to Garden in the Woods in Framingham, a favorite spot we frequented when we both lived in Mass.  It’s run by the New England Wildflower Society and features lovely walks in the woods. Every time you go it’s different depending on what wildflowers are in bloom.

When walking around the pond (pictured above), we both noticed that there was a turtle on a log.  We began observing the turtle and realized that she was stuck.  Somehow Shelly (that’s what we’ll call her) managed to wedge her shell into part of the log and her feet were dangling in midair.  Try as she might, she couldn’t budge.  It was hot and Em and I became worried the longer we watched her struggle.  We wondered if we could throw a rock or stick to dislodge her, but then worried we would hurt Shelly.  We encouraged her turtle friends to help, but they ignored us.  Em grabbed my hand as I kept one foot on land and managed to get my other foot on the huge log in the water. I began to shake/kick the log.  It didn’t budge.  We contemplated one of us wading into the water and shimmying up the log, but there were a lot of people around and we feared the wrath of the New England Wildflower Society as they have signs EVERYWHERE to stay on paths.

We hiked back up to the Visitor Center.  Seeing Shelly flail around like that was hurting our hearts as we both love animals.  (And we believe that God does too.  Psalm 104 is a great example of God’s love for creatures.)  I prayed aloud, “Jesus, please help that poor turtle!”  And Em said “Amen!”  We walked into the Visitor Center and explained the situation to the woman working: “Listen, I know this sounds a little odd.  But we were at the pond just now and there’s a turtle stuck on a log.”  (Blank stare.)  “The thing is, the turtle doesn’t appear to just be sunning herself.”  “The turtle is in distress!” (That was 100% me word for word.)  “What do you mean the turtle is in distress?”  “The turtle is stuck somehow on this log and can’t dislodge herself.  It’s so hot and we’re worried. She’s not upside down, but her feet are dangling in midair and she can’t get traction to move.”  “I even kicked the log and tried to shake it, no luck!”

The baffled woman in the gift shop said that she would radio it in, though people would probably think she was crazy too.  To which Em and I said simultaneously, “Blame us!  Emilia and Lauren!  Blame us!  Please help that turtle!”

We walked a little more in the woods, and then went back to the pond to check on poor Shelly before we left.  She was gone!  Hallelujah!  As the Psalmist reminds us, the earth is full of God’s creations.  And if God cares about the wild donkeys, birds, cattle, storks, mountain goats, badgers, lions, etc. we probably should too, just sayin’.  (Here’s hoping Shelly will flourish in the Garden in the Woods for a good long time.)

(This Week’s Thoughts 5.31.18)