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JIM “PAPPY” MOORE: Turtles & Alligator Gar – It’s Springtime at the Lake

By Jim “Pappy” Moore


The cycle of life.  Springtime at the lake sees the cycle of life in abundance.  The alligator gar are spawning by my bulkhead, the large female depositing her eggs as a flurry of males swarm around her to deposit their seed.  On the surface by some reeds, they are oblivious to me standing a few feet over them.   Reproduction is all they have on their minds.


A few months ago, I saw mother turtles headed past my house, up the hill, to lay their eggs.  I knew their offspring would be showing up soon, making their way to the water by instinct.  One of the little fellows showed up on my front doorstep.  He was lost, had gotten in the garage, and was stymied by the door to the house.  My son carried him down to the edge of the water, where the baby turtle quickly plunged in and swam instinctively to the protection of reeds.


Life is amazing, and its simple replication is a miracle.  No matter how much I see this simple act, it awes me. Birds nest, lay their eggs, and urge their young to eat, to stretch their wings, and to attempt flight.


The birds of prey are feasting on the new life of a new spring.  My nephew saw an eagle hunting near his home.  Hawks are everywhere snatching snakes, lizards, and mice.  Even the airborne scavengers are doing record business, as newborn animals make their first and last road crossing. Some squirrels learn about cars and roads the first time they find themselves in a driver’s path.


Of course, the wasps make their annual return, and I make my annual exception to my gracious attitude about animals.  Ever since one sent my son into shock some years ago, I have a zero tolerance policy regarding wasps.  The only good wasp is a dead wasp.  I probably enjoy killing them a little too much. They are pesky critters.


Years ago, this was the time of year we would be chasing overdue cows or horses and pulling their calves or foals when they couldn’t accomplish the feat by themselves.  Some first-time cow and horse mothers have difficulty delivering, and helping them birth is a necessity.  It’s a messy process, but it is new life, and there’s something really primitive about being there for it. If you have never pulled a calf or a foal, partner, you have missed one of life’s true experiences.


The plants are not to be outdone by the animals.  They are growing like … well, like weeds!  Is there anything more beautiful than a tree in spring bloom?  They surround us with color, and cover us and our vehicles with greenish-yellowish pollen and dust. When the hardwoods rejoin the pines in their greenery, it’s a great day for the region.  


While I love our spring blossoms and blooms, I could do without the hay fever.  I know it’s the duty of these plants to pollinate, but I sure wish that pollen would find someplace besides my nose to camp out. I must irrigate my nose several times a day to rid my nostrils of the stuff.


Allergies aside, these are the days I call a little slice of heaven.  It’s springtime in East Texas. God’s in His heaven. All’s right with the world.


Copyright 2007, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.

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