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Clearly Not A Squeamish Girl

Most mornings when Maddie and I walk to
school we make a nature walk out of it; we listen for different
bird calls and look for ducks at the pond, anything to keep her
moving and looking forward. Our favorite days are those mornings
after it rains, when the earthworms are out in force in the
puddles, and yesterday was such a day: we spotted over a dozen
worms – a personal best – just walking to school

I was in “nature hunt” mode,
scouring for earth worms or interesting bugs, as we started across
a nearby street. I spotted something out of the corner of my eye
– a turtle shell! “Maddie, look!” I said
excitedly as I got near it, “A tur-“

And then I realized the turtle was dead. I mean, like, dead dead.
Head hanging onto the neck by a very thin sinew.

But it was too late to put the words back in, and I prepared myself
for dealing with a hysterical five-year-old.

Maddie peered at the turtle. “Oh, that turtle looks like
it’s dead,” she said matter-of-factly. Then she stared
more closely, gazing intently at the near-severed head.
“Hey,” she said excitedly, “I can see its
insides! Look at how pink it is against the green shell!”

Ok, clearly not a girl with a weak stomach.

I shouldn’t have been surprised; after all, this was the girl
who, as a four-year-old visiting my family farm a year ago, tried
to bring an owl skull and a deer rib bone back in our carry-on
luggage. I could only imagine what the TSA would have made of those
treasures. Maddie’s interest in nature is one of my favorite
things about her; I just wish she wasn’t quite so interested
in ALL of nature.

As we walked back home that afternoon and neared the fatal (pun
intended) crosswalk, Maddie started looking around. “Hey, is
that leftover turtle still here?” Glancing out I could see
that yes, indeed, a flattened version of the morning’s show
was still on display. “Um, I’m not sure,” I said
offhandedly, then added, “Hey, how about some Easter candy
when we get home?”

I’m not saying I’m proud of what I did. But the
distraction worked.


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