Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.

Wildlife totems  have  been  everywhere  and,  Nature Girl that I am, I like it. A lot. Except of course, when animal parents are irresponsible.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

Deer. Baby deer. Lots of baby deer by the roadside. Enough so that the driver next to us had trouble staying in his lane while he and his kids pointed fingers there and there and there.

Crows. Crows flying dangerously low over my firepot today as I wrapped up a Full Moon ritual. Crows every- where.  In  fact,  lots  of  crows  in  the  past  few  weeks, though we didn’t see a single one on our Daytona road trip except for the hour we got lost in Palm Coast, trying to find the road to Gainesville, and about a dozen crows called to us from the pines over the car as we figured out the  map.  But  it’s  like  they  followed  us  back  because they’ve been all around the house since then.

Coyotes! A huge coyote loping across the nearby Golf Course  moors in the foggy glow (humidity) of the June Moon. Either that or a werewolf, and I have no idea what Conway or Andrews would say about werewolves as to- tem animals.

Rabbits. The occasional  young bunny along the jogging path. Sometimes  having  a  quiet  chat  with a neighborhood cat and other  times  waiting  to scare  the daylights out  of  me.  But  at least  they  weren’t  running from Jeaneen’s alligator from last summer.

Reptiles and amphibians.  I still don’t know what to make  of  the  albino  lizard  above  the  garage  door.  We named him Paul Bettony,  though. As for other slithery critters, I have actually stepped on 2 snakes  in the past month. And I believe I frightened them more than they scared me. And then there was the slimy  bullfrog  that jumped out of nowhere and humped my leg while I did a one-footed dance to shake him off.

And turtles. Turtles mating in the flower beds. Turtles dropping by my front doorstep  to say hello. Turtles lingering in the shade around  the shrubs. Baby turtles no bigger than my palm, playing hide-and-seek in the sprinkler water behind my car tire….

Uh, yeah.

Mom and Dad Turtle were getting it on in the flower bed while  Baby  Turtle  was  playing in traffic.  Unfortunately, there’s just no happy ending to this story.


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