Sunday, May 19, 2013

Look! Turtles!

     Over the last year I have spent nearly every day at Johns Hopkins hospital with my husband. There are gardens and courtyards on the grounds, but as you can imagine, and for good reason, it's a pretty sterile place. For example, where we hang out there is a strict "No Fresh Flowers, Plants, or Fruits" policy.
     Walking toward the cafeteria last week I was pleasantly surprised to see this:

     I did look. There were turtles! 

     A whole village of turtles, it seemed, were mostly living under plywood house-like structures. (I think I counted eighteen.)
     The accompanying sign sort of explained that the turtles (farmed red-eared slider turtles) were at the hospital to participate in the 82nd annual Turtle Derby. And we could take "chances" on them. I was disappointed that more turtle information was not provided, either on the poster or online, especially since this is obviously a children's hospital fundraising event. Curious children will inevitably ask:
     "What kind of turtles are they?"
     "How old are they?"
     "Where did they come from?"
     "What do they eat?"
     "Why are they in the water?"
     "Why are they so slow?"
     "How long can they hold their breath?"
     "Can I touch one?"
     "Can I have one?!"
     "Can we visit them when they're gone?" 
The childrens' parents/caregivers should be given the resources to answer these questions. But seeing "Look! Turtles!" on the window when you walk by is still great.
     I stood at the window one day last week, watching peopleyoung and old, sick and wellapproach the window, look down, and smile at the discovery of seeing large, slow, sleepy, ancient looking reptiles in the middle of the hospital. That was great to see, too.
     I might just have to check out the derby this year.

1 comment:

  1. "Turtle Derby" in & of itself is cause to smile. :)

    What a great phrase! Turtle Derby!