In the summer of 1994 I spied an eastern box turtle crossing our yard making a beeline for the garden. It was the start of a beautiful friendship. The turtle was a mature female. Beautiful carapace and plastron, very colorful head and legs. She was not timid -- never tried to close her shell. I took her picture, set her down and watched as she headed back toward the garden. Over the years I saw her numerous times. She ate tomatoes in the garden and fallen apples from the tree in the side yard. One year she accompanied me to a turtle program for pre-schoolers. Each summer I looked for her and each time I saw her she brought a smile to my face. It was nice to know such an agreeable creature shared our space.
Sadly, I took her picture for the last time today. Apparently, probably sometime in the late fall, she reached the end of her journey. I found her remains this morning while I was out looking for chorus frogs. So today I say farewell to a friend. She will be missed.