Turtles, Turtles, Turtles!

You know how things seems to come in waves? Like, the other day I saw three turtles in one day. We live in the woods, but even though the shelled reptiles are doing fine around here it’s rare to eastern box turtlesee more than one or two a year. They just aren’t very sociable.  Like me.

Tuesday morning, I was on the front deck for my 6:30 coffee-and-a-smoke meditation. I saw the first boxer crawling out from under my wife’s car. Cars are not turtle-friendly; it’s a terrible place to take shelter. But this is a mountain turtle and it is no doubt unfamiliar with the perils of modern human transportation equipment.

So I take Mr. T. away from the driveway and across the grass to near the woods. He kept his head and legs out the whole time… looking around (and at me), probably feeling like he was going 100 miles an hour. I put him down and he sat there catching his breath from the thrill ride.

I returned to my post on the porch and resumed my morning routine of doing nothing.  After about ten minutes, another turtle appeared – again from underneath my wife’s vehicle. Popular hangout!

So I picked up this guy (?) and also took him down the yard to the first turtle. Who knew turtles had personalities? Unlike his buddy, this dude sucked himself inside his shell and refused to even peek out. Hatchling trauma? Could be.

Anyhow, I tried putting Number 2 in front of Number 1 – no notice seemed to be taken. After a minute I put Number 2 close enough that their shells clacked together a little bit.

Well! That got Number One’s attention. He finally turned and looked at his companion, and after a minute or so they took off together, slowly hotfooting it towards the trees. I therefore made a very scientific deduction from this that turtles communicate by knockin’ boots… err, shells. Again: who knew?

I saw the third turtle on my way home later that morning from my summer haircut (first one since August ’14, y’all). It was crossing one of our country lanes. There really was no place to pull over, so I reluctantly kept going and left it to fend for himself. Hopefully other drivers were as observant as I was until he got across.

So. Three turtles. Now, even two turtles was enough to get my attention. But maybe it was just a good traveling day for them. Maybe they were all headed to a local turtle seminar to discuss modern transportation hazards. Naw. I know enough to know that two could be a coincidence (in this case a stretch), but three’s a definite heads-up.

So I look up the woo-woo scoop on turtles. I don’t usually do that – I generally don’t believe in all-purpose interpretations of “signs” because the meanings just have to be different for everyone. But since the turtle sounded like a good juicy Native American totem, I looked it up.

The most appealing and (I believe) most accurate definition is that I’m being reminded to be at peace. The turtle never runs, but it always gets to where it’s going and it does it with grace and dignity.

I have been settling down a bit since I stopped actively promoting my practice awhile back, which honestly was a huge deal in my head-space. But I’m taking my apparent “failure” as an opportunity to just “be”, as they say. We can, for the time being, pay the bills without worry and so I have little need to be anxious about that. With that development I was able to get rid of the frantic energy of “making it”. I’ve been told (like many unfortunate others) that I have a “message” to deliver, “great work” to do in the world. Maybe so… but I’ll be f*cked if I know what it is. Chances are I’m already doing it.

Beginning in grade school, just about every report card had the note, “not living up to potential!”. After hearing that for twelve years from my teachers and supposed protectors, I simply became a guy who didn’t, in fact, live up to his potential. See, they were right? It’s not that I’m not good enough… it’s just that I’m a lazy bastard.

But I’m being advised to forget all that. To be a turtle. To keep my dignity and remember that I don’t “have” to live up to anybody’s ideals except for my own. All I need to do is to keep going, and go in peace.

But I will say this: I am sure as hell not going to be like Turtle number 2 and shut out all that’s passing by. I’ll at least keep my head in the breeze – I don’t want to miss a thing, even if it does take a while to get there.

And by the way:  if you find this kind of thing interesting, or have a need for a sympathetic and helpful ear, or just want to chat, sign up for a call with me.  I’m not selling anything any more (unless I’m approached) but I’m still a good place to go when you need a new perspective on things.  Just go here to sign up for a call.

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© 2008 - 2017 M.L. Pierich


Michael Lee Pierich does not represent that he is licensed by any city, state, or country as a professional in the medical or mental health field.