LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Long, slanting rays of an August sunset reached their tentacles into the living room where I stood like a tanned flamingo, left foot balanced on right knee, wearing a leopard print gown, sipping from a glass filled with Famous Grouse scotch, water and ice cubes.

gopher tortoise 2004 - 1

Where did that big grey rock come from?

Oops. That’s no rock. That Gopherus Polyphemous! Himself! Uh, or Herself!

Uncoiling and getting both feet back on the floor, I reached for the camera and decided to go-pher the shot. Sorry. Slipping into my garden clogs out on the screened porch, I eased through the door, and circled around in back of where the tortoise was feeding. I walked a few steps, stopped to see if the tortoise would run off. He didn’t, so I moved forward a few more feet. Stopped. Waited. Until I got close enough for a picture.

gopher tortoise 2004 - 2

When I got within two feet, I began to talk softly to the tortoise. He seemed a little curious about me, too. I expect I presented a fairly weird sight, hunkered down in the weedy dirt right in front of him. His black eyes opened wide, glittered in the sunlight, his head jerked upward and he stuck his tongue out at me. Then, those large digging tools began to propel him forward, and he headed back toward his den at a relaxed pace.

gopher tortoise 2004 - 3

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