Allan Gardens

The urban jungle no longer has to be a concrete prison that forces humans of different species to rub shoulders on the cold sidewalks. Instead, it’s more literal than that. Take the Allan Gardens- a small greenhouse jungle in the middle of the otherwise nature-less city. Upon entering the building, a warm, soft breeze smelling of peat moss and soil welcomes you into its epicentre. Soft voices, footsteps and waterfalls are the only noises. The calm atmosphere forces the otherwise busy mindset of any Torontonian to breeze and focus on the simple things.

This piece is a 208-word scene I wrote for my feature writing class about the adventures of the turtles at the Allan Gardens. I was there for two hours observing them and it hardly felt like it was that long.

The leader of the pack, before his great fall into the water below and his adventure back to the front of the line-up - it's place of power.
The leader of the pack, before his great fall into the water below and his adventure back to the front of the line-up – it’s place of power.

The leader of a seven-turtle line-up at Allan Gardens is the most active: stroking its webbed feet through the air as though it’s swimming.

Then its foot caught the side of the stone it sat on.

With a thud, the turtle ricocheted off a rock and into the stagnant creek below.

It’s separated from the line-up.

The turtle swims toward the climbing point in swift strokes. A bumpy wall leading up to slippery green rocks gives some grip to the turtle as it tries to climb up.

A thin sheet of water flows over the green rocks and pushes the turtle to fall back into the water with a small splash.

The turtle moves slightly to the left and tries again, successfully.

Now out of the water, it crawls past the end of the line-up, trying to climb over a smaller turtle by scaling a 4×4 piece of wood along the base of the stone-sided cottage.

The smaller turtle and another one nearby climb onto the back of a bigger turtle resting hear the edge of the stones.

The trio almost fall in as the wet turtle pushes through the line-up.

The turtle makes its back to the front of the line-up: the clear leader of its pack.

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