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Of puddles and turtles

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I LOOKED out on a gloomy, dark, rainy day, remembering I had left good gardening tools lying in the grass at the end of my garden. Disgusted with my carelessness, I hurried out. The first few yards I huddled and resisted the rain in my face and the individual drips in my shoes at the back of my heels. Quite soon the rain and I adjusted. - I was not cold - I was just wet. My shoes forthrightly and honestly squished as I went through the puddles.

The lane ditch was flooded as I had never seen it before. Tiny twigs floated in the water like logs in a logjam. With a stick I built a dam that pleased me and soon had a great falls and cascade. With just a poke I could change the whole river and the destiny of the bugs and beetles coping with the water.

There were different frog songs, the frogs hid themselves from me. I had an interesting association with a responsive tortoise, whose happiness to be in the rain was contagious. He seemed to open up with joy, stretching out his four legs and tail as far as possible, welcoming the rain.

The hedge was alive with silent, moving creatures, birds and bugs, waiting to be on their ways. My heavy-coated collies were enjoying the rain noises and smells. They took their enthusiasm into the field and I soon realized they were attempting to herd something. The something gave them the slip.

It was a tiny mouse with a tail like a small wire. It crossed the first ditch before I knew what I was watching. It galloped across the lane and into the second ditch, swimming a fast, rhythmic Australian crawl, and disappeared.

Its progress had been exactly like that of a Walt Disney mouse. It had hardly seemed to touch the road or water, and if it had yelled, ``Onion Sauce,'' or the White Rabbit's monologue, ``Oh, my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!'' I would not have been surprised. It wasn't a gloomy day at all!


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