Flander's Lane, Washington Maine

Flander's Lane is named after my grandfather, Roland Flanders. It is a short dirt road with a few camps set on Washington Pond. There are tales that Flander's Lane is haunted. At least that's what my grandfather says.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Snapping Turtle

Snapping TurtleWe all went out to Grampy Flander's garden to pick some green peas with my kidling, and it was all nice and good for a while, until this giant snapping turtle poked her head out of the leaves. I was a bit surprised to have a giant dinosaur so close underfoot, so we quickly moved the wee one out of the way.

This amazing creature was slowly making her way to the bog across the street from Grampy's house. When I was a kid Grampy told me to stay away from the bog. He told me it was bottomless. A bottomless bog? I found that hard to believe. In fact, it made me all the more curious about the bog.

I have to admit, I would play there whenever I got the chance as a child, (which was not that often), but enough to have several stories about the place. The frogs there are the biggest I've ever seen. The water is also full of long evil black eels. At times folk would toss in eel traps, and I would see the eels in the traps. I'd pull them close to the water's edge just to see the writhing eels in the traps before I pushed them back in for the trapper to collect later. It's not cool to mess with someone else's traps, so I always tried to put them back as I found them. Those black eels are so creepy, I just had to give them a look.

As kids we used to play a game where we would take a long branch, and remove all the twigs and leaves, except for a leaf at the very end. We would tickle the nose of any bull frog we saw, just to get them to bite the stick and leaf. One could easily lift the frog this way until they let go. I'm telling you, these bull frogs are really big. Any frog that weighs in at 1.5 pounds or more is a lot of frog. At night the frogs make a lovely croaking sound, and I love falling asleep to the sound of frogs and crickets.

Maine SnapperI worried that the snapper would get run over trying to cross Liberty Road on her way to the bog, so I decided that I would get a barn bucket, and help her across. I used an old wood handle to guide her into the bucket. I simply told her that I had no intent to harm her, in fact, I wanted to help her cross the road safely. She looked up at me and gave me a wink, crawled into the bucket on her own accord, and away we went to the bog. No struggle at all. She never bit the pole, or resisted. It was as if she understood every word I said.

The old bog was even more wild than I remembered it from 30 years ago or so. All the trees along the bog's edge were chewed up by beaver. Most of the smaller trees were toppled over, laying in the bog. It's amazing that beaver can chew through so many trees. There are coyotes that hang out here as well, so I was sure to keep my wits about me while all alone there with my new turtle friend. Just by crossing the road, and walking down a small hill to the bog, I suddenly felt so alone in a place that is very dark and strange. I'll have to come back and photo it all for you. It's so spooky and wild feeling.

The snapping turtle walked slowly to the bog's edge and slipped into the water, and just sat there looking around. She turned her head to give me one last look, gave me a thank you, and slipped deeper away from sight. I was glad to help her cross the road. Too many turtles don't make it across Liberty Road. Traffic goes too fast here. Huge logging trucks and dump trucks speed by day and night. Even turtles as big as this don't stand a chance.


At July 23, 2007 9:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story...want to see pictures of the bog...sounds creepy!



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