It’s June and turtles are on the move. Fulfilling their biological imperative to reproduce they come out of the watery depths in search of gravel in which to bury their eggs. Thus they make their presence known at the Steger Wilderness Center and are shown proper deference for doing their ‘thang’.
Most turtle sightings occur down in Hobo Village where a gravel bed can be found only a half hour away at turtle speed. Everyone is drawn to them. Whether on land or just off shore, as soon as a turtle appears the human onlookers gather around and gawk like a bunch of kids. One turtle in particular has captivated attention due to its imposing size. ‘Goliath’ has generated quite a bit of buzz among the interns and apprentices. Those who have witnessed this Snapper, usually lurking off shore, report a head the size of a soft ball, a two foot long tail, and a tortoise shell as big as a garbage can cover, all of which may be slight exaggerations due to the magnifying effect of water.
Animated accounts of Goliath and other turtles have become part of the ongoing conversation. These unassuming reptiles have woven themselves into the fabric of the Steger Wilderness Center by doing what comes naturally, and that is as it should be. The boundary here between human and non-human is purposefully porous, resulting in a wider sense of community, one that extends human consideration to the natural world and natural values to the human world. We respect the turtle’s striving for life, while the turtle instills in us a greater appreciation for slow life.
By Peter Wahlstrom