There was no doubt that we would make a visit to Hudson’s bench while she was here. Until today, the weather had remained mostly hot and humid, too much so for a little one who is still not three weeks old. Yesterday, Jessica suggested that we go to the Arboretum today and I agreed, because the weather was supposed to turn gorgeous today, with much lower temperatures and humidity. She gently said, “And you know, it’s the thirteenth.” And indeed, I had completely forgotten that it was. I told her that I had been thinking about that a lot lately and that at some point, I was going to need to let go of the significance of that day each month. (Not to mention the fact that I have no way to follow the pattern of memories I’ve been sharing here, because of course, all of our memories with Hudson ended in May 2010. I have no more photos or stories to tell after that.) She agreed, but said it would still be a good day to visit Hudson’s bench. And indeed it was.
We decided to head out there before lunch—even though the day was supposed to be much cooler, we figured it would be better to visit in the morning before it warmed up. We got there around 11:30 and as we headed into the Dogwood Collection, we ran into a friend from the neighborhood who had been unable to join us for the memorial on May 13 and was stopping by with her one-year-old daughter to see Hudson’s bench for the first time. She seemed overwhelmed to see us and then she quickly explained why. As soon as she told us what was waiting for us at Hudson’s bench, we had to get down there to see it for ourselves.
This is what she had seen. And when we saw it for ourselves, we, too, were overwhelmed.
It was a huge turtle, sitting in the sun almost exactly halfway between Hudson’s bench and the gnarled dogwood tree under which we sprinkled some of Hudson’s ashes on her birthday (in the background of the photo above). Ed took several pictures as we all tried to take in how incredible it was. We have never seen a turtle at the Arboretum before, in all our many trips.
And then, it turned around and started walking directly toward Jackson, who was napping in his carrier on Hudson’s bench.
As I sit here now, many hours later, I still don’t know what to make of that encounter. But it’s hard not to imagine we received a very special visit today.