By Carolyn Stearns
Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, I've begun to pull my bike out of the shed and get back on the road. The bicycle is my vehicle of choice.
I am reminded of my responsibilities as a bike rider: Take care not to get knocked over by fast-moving trucks or cars and remove all road-kill and live turtles from the blacktop.
Over the years, I have rescued many live turtles. If they could talk they'd say, "I'm only out here because I'm looking for water. Otherwise, I'd be basking in the sun."
I always carry them to the same safe place, away from cars and trucks. I take them to the land across from the Food-Rite, on the corner of Route 258 and Route 256 in Deale. I call this place Turtle Heaven.
I bring turtles to Turtle Heaven because I know there is water there, and wetlands. And I know they'll be safe. The turtles always say thank you in their turtle-like way and dash to the water.
If you have never walked through wetlands, put on your boots, park your car and stroll off the pavement. Most any place in Deale or Shady Side, you'll find yourself in a wonderfully squishy oasis of land. You will see why I bring the turtles to these wetlands.
If this refuge ever is surrendered for high-rises or strip malls, I shall worry about what will happen to the turtles. I also worry about raccoons, opossums, eagles, rabbits, owls and other birds and living creatures. If we deny them their woods and wetlands, we will find more and more of them moving into our backyards.
My husband and I have already entertained an opossum searching for food on our enclosed porch. I have already been attacked and bitten by a raccoon that was sick and looking for a place to die.
We desperately need to keep ample turtle heavens open for wildlife. And we need to plan now before any more trees are cut and wetlands eliminated, where these sacred patches of land, these little pieces of heaven, will remain forever untouched.
This is not to say no to progress. Rather it is to say yes to a vision of what we want our community, human and otherwise, to become.