Meet Odetta. He or she is a baby Eastern painted turtle, who has been living here in a tank on my dining table since late last fall. (Gender is anyone's guess at this stage, so let's call the little critter a "he" to avoid cumbersome inclusive pronoun gymnastics.) When he arrived, egg tooth still attached, he looked like a tiny colorful wind-up toy (see photo on the left), with little beady eyes glittering and wee legs vigorously churning. I took the photo on the right today, 4-5 months later. Huge! Well, relatively. Still totally cute, and exquisitely perfect and colorful.
Turtles live a pretty simple life. Odetta pretty much spends his days bobbing around in the water, craning his neck around, basking on the rock with legs sticking out, watching me, waiting for food, munching on spinach leaves, occasional bouts of vigorous swimming. What do turtles think about? Do they get bored? Why do they seem so wise?
Tomorrow morning I'm driving Odetta to a new home at the Montezuma Audubon Center, where he will live in a big tank that is part of an interpretive panel that features a mural I painted last August. I'll miss hanging out with Odetta, small alien intelligent presence.