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Box Turtle Blessing

 

Brenda DeLauder Columnist

  After so many dry years, this wet one caused the need for our farm’s fall mowing schedule, to move up. Some fields are for hay, but others are mowed once a year to keep them from turning into a wilderness. Such is the case with the old pasture. The sumac, which could be called “giant sumac,” was threatening to take over, so it was important to cut it before the seed heads matured. On a hot and sticky day in late August, I headed out to take on this challenge. The pasture  feels like a big outside room with a fabulous view, and usually my favorite place to mow, but this year was different. Not only had the stalks of sumac grown taller than the roof of the tractor, but the early cutting time, meant the bugs would be in “full battle and attack mode.” With each pass through this heavy growth, the bugs, particularly all sizes of grasshoppers, leaped from the plant life to the human one.

  There quickly became an urgency to focus on anything beside the bugs, which is hard to do. They hang off your hat, sunglasses, or your nose. It makes no difference to them. The bug count increased with each section mowed. About halfway through the big field, I started asking God to help me to stop focusing on the bug attacks.

  With the request barely off my lips, out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, this time bigger than a bug. Always cautious of critters with this mighty blade, I stopped when I saw what was moving. A beautiful box turtle, sporting bright yellow markings,  was moving quickly over the just-cut stubble trying to get to the jungle of weeds below us. Quickly I stopped, secured the tractor, then hopped off to rescue it. Who says turtles are slow?! This guy was making good time, heading straight for where I would mow next. I managed to catch him right before he disappeared into the heavy growth and moved him some distance from the area, out of harm’s way.

  The turtle’s determination to escape the area had gotten my mind off the zillion bugs continuing to torture me. I thought about how I had asked God to send me something to help get my mind off the “icky” part of the work, and He did.

  It also made me think about Ecclesiastes 3, and for the rest of the time on that hot buggy afternoon, I tried to recall all the verses. I wasn’t sure if the turtle was in the “gain or lose” or “heal or kill” category, but I was really glad he chose moving over hiding in his shell. It made me think about all the choices we have in our lives, let alone each day. Because of what we choose, the outcome can change. But as the Scripture says, everything has its time. We hope and pray for the right choices to be made, and when we include God, they are right.

  That doesn’t mean the path becomes smooth. Like the turtle, we will have to crawl over some extremely rugged terrain, and sometimes with something big chasing us, but the outcome will be worth it. Life may have bugs in it, but when we get our focus on God and keep it there, all things become possible.

  With God’s help, sent in the form of a turtle, I made it through a test of endurance. Now it was a time for laughter as I headed for the barn! “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)    

 

 Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.

 

 

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