I had no idea these slow moving reptiles were so common crossing roads at this time of year. After the first mishap I paid attention. And saw lots. Most ducked their heads into their shells when my van approached. I can't imagine how terrifying that must seem. Plenty didn't make it, run over by other vehicles. I'd like to think I didn't hit any more, but who knows?
Inadvertently snuffing out a life is one thing. It wasn't practical to stop and carry them across the highway, though the thought occurred to me, and I'm sure some do-gooders do. As horrible as it seems, I'm sure other drivers take to crushing them for sport. Which led me to my train of thought about homeless families...
Having just left Kansas after a productive and surprisingly pleasant 3 months working on Worn Out Welcome Mat --KS, a documentary about homeless families and youth who doubled up with others because they have nowhere to go, I met some amazing parents and young people. Despite all that has happened to them, and they've all been through many different forms of hell, they keep trying to survive and thrive.
Melissa's story is probably the most grueling, though Maggie's is pretty awful, too. Candace, a young Marine with a darling 4-yo daughter, will rip at your heart. (All short YouTube vids on my Worn Out Welcome Mat KS playlist)With ample road time to think and the unpredictable appearance of turtles in various stages of going from one side of the highway to the other, I couldn't help but make the comparison between turtles and homeless families.
I watched one resolute turtle just climb onto the pavement and plunge ahead, not looking for traffic. Kind of a damned if I do, damned if I don't way of thinking. Kind of like when a parent makes the desperate decision to move in with a risky host because she and her kids have nowhere to go.
Kansas has identified over 10,000 school kids in various forms of homeless situations. That doesn't KS policies and practices seem aimed at, well, crushing vulnerable families.
|Melissa and her 7-yo daughter are homeless,|
doubled up and desperate.
And yet, HUD, the federal agency charged with housing the housing-vulnerable and un-housed, continues to fight the need to expand their definition of homeless.
To urge your congresspersons to support the bipartisan legislation to change HUD's definition of homelessness, go to http://helphomelesskidsnow.org and TAKE ACTION.In my mind, HUD's like the cruel-hearted driver intentionally running over the helpless turtle.