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Turtle
By Mary Oliver

Now I see it--
it nudges with its bulldog head
the slippery stems of the lilies, making them tremble;
and now it noses along in the wake of the little brown teal

who is leading her soft children
from one side of the pond to the other; she keeps
close to the edge
and they follow closely, the good children--

the tender children,
the sweet children, dangling their pretty feet
into the darkness.
And now will come--I can count on it--the murky splash,

the certain victory
of that pink and gassy mouth, and the frantic
circling of the hen while the rest of the chicks
flare away over the water and into the reeds, and my heart

will be most mournful
on their account. But, listen,
what's important?
Nothing's important

except that the great and cruel mystery of the world,
of which this is a part,
not to be denied. Once,
I happened to see, on a city street, in summer,

a dusty, fouled turtle plodded along--
a snapper--
broken out I suppose from some backyard cage--
and I knew what I had to do--

I looked it right in the eyes, and I caught it--
I put it, like a small mountain range,
into a knapsack, and I took it out
of the city, and I let it

down into the dark pond, into
the cool water,
and the light of the lilies,
to live.

--------

We got up at 5:30 to drive Maddy to BWI, said our goodbyes for now, then came back home and fell back asleep from around 8-10 so I've been kind of groggy all day! After we finally got up and showered, we had lunch, picked up my mother (my father has a cold and stayed home), then picked up Alice (whose husband and son both had homework) and went to Meadowlark Gardens which isn't far from where the latter lives. The cherry blossoms and tulips for which the park is famous were gone, but there were still plenty of azaleas and we saw many turtles, frogs, geese, koi, tadpoles, red-winged blackbirds, and other wildlife as we walked through the wetlands and Korean bell gardens.

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It was nicely overcast, so not as horrendously hot as the forecast. After we took Alice home and visited her family for a few minutes, we stopped at Tara Thai to pick up food and went back to my parents' house for dinner, where my father was in a good mood after watching the Nationals' 23-5 victory over the Mets (when we got there he was concerned that the Yankees were going to beat the Orioles in extra innings, but the Os came back and won). In the evening we watched the very annoying Once Upon a Time (Belle's compulsive self-erasure is unwatchable, I almost hope Gold kills her as a cautionary tale instead of glorifying their "love") and the always enjoyable Madam Secretary.

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