Unexpected beauty stops writer Anne Marie Ruff in her tracks.
This is the season Minnesota turtles are on the move, making their way up from wetlands to lay eggs. While driving last May, I spotted a drab brown spot on the road. I turned around, turned on my hazard lights, and retrieved a brown-shelled turtle from the middle of the road. I carried her to the safety of the shoulder. I was rewarded with an astonishing glimpse of the underside of a painted turtle. The black and yellow stripes of skin morph into abstract shapes against a brilliant orange background on the underside of both the top and bottom shell. This seemingly unnecessary excess of beauty stopped me in my tracks. This individual was probably more than ten years old (turtles can live to be 85). I imagine that the turtle has long forgotten the encounter, but for me, I am scanning the roads for more brown shells.