It’s obvious that an important lesson about life was imparted to me via snapping turtle recently.

It’s obvious that an important lesson about life was imparted to me via snapping turtle recently.


I’m just not sure what it was.


Here are the facts:


I’m on my morning commute along a very busy two-lane, east-west highway.


The posted speed limits range along this stretch from 45 mph to 65 mph, which many motorists seem to view as the state’s way of saying travel at least 70 mph.


Eighteen-wheeler trucks hauling everything from gravel to seafood rumble along, slowing the trail at traffic lights but setting the pace when given the space to open up.


My attention was drawn to one, in fact, coming in the opposite direction when I noticed the snapping turtle, slowly walking, as only a snapping turtle can, slowly walking onto the highway with the obvious intention of crossing over to the other side across both lanes.


You could have timed its progress with a sundial.


The traffic is so quick and continuous here that to pull over to effect a rescue would be dangerous to good Samaritan, passing vehicles and the turtle. And that’s if the snapper decided to docilely cooperate with rescue efforts, a behavioral response not to be expected in the species.


So why did the snapping turtle attempt to cross the road?


Yeah, yeah, to get to the other side, right, but at this time of year it’s specifically because she’s a female looking for a sandy spot to lay her eggs.


This momma snapper, a fairly young one judging by the size – maybe 15 pounds – had evidently charted her course after channeling the Titanic’s navigator.


Her longevity chances seemed as fully promising as a snowball’s in Lucifer’s lap.


I drove on, already cringing at the gruesome sight I anticipated viewing on my return trip that evening.


A workday later, and I had completely forgotten the momma turtle until I drove by the stretch where I’d spotted her that morning.


No grisly turtle remains.


She’d made it.


There’s no chance the remains had been removed. It’s just way too dangerous to stop for a turtle body recovery operation.


But, being a trained journalist, I turned around and traveled back along the opposite route to make sure the reckless reptile’s remains were not elsewhere.


Lo and don’t behold.


No squished turtle.


So we come to the lesson part:


Should we gather that fate is immutable, as in Greek tragedy?


Or that perseverance can conquer all, as in a morality play?


Or that maybe you really shouldn’t read a whole lot into turtle behavior.


Because those hatchlings are never going to make it back across.


Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.com.