This is the turtle’s favorite part of the pond and therefore mine. I cannot get past my love affair with turtles. Do you know what turtles do? Absolutely nothing spectacular. They are slow (except in the water), shy, and unimpressed by humans. Despite a rather staggering record of survival success (they are some of the oldest reptiles – 220 million years and counting by some estimates) they are unphased by their accomplishments. One would be hard pressed to describe turtles as self confident. Were we to find a way to communicate it is almost certain we would find them somewhat withdrawn and anxiety ridden. And yet oddly confident too. Who else walks across the fields past cows, dogs and sheep whenever they feel like it with their only defense strategy being to curl up and wait it out if the dog is curious? We’ve got metaphors for quiet people involving turtle body parts, yet to my knowledge not a single turtle has ever sought therapy in search of tools to help them leave their shell. They keep it handy and use as they see fit . . . dog boredom device, solar panel, party dress.
I’ve said this before. When my grandchildren are born I’ll still be saying it. When my great grandchildren come visit me and sit arguing in front of me about what it is I’m actually trying to say and if it proves my attachment or disassociation with reality, I’ll be on the patio pointing at a turtle.
They always get to where their going. It’s just not fast, I’ll say.
Does Grandma think it’s time to go?
Did she say fast? What if she’s going on a hunger strike or something?
That’s not what she said, another will say.
But that’s what she meant. I’m calling mom.
At this point I will take my cane and strike his/her mobile device to the ground, whereupon I will totter over to it. Unable to crush it with my bedroom slipper, I will content myself to sit down on it and refuse to move.
The more high strung among them will go to fetch a nurse and possibly a tranquilizer.
To any who remain, I’ll point again at the turtle, who by this time will be four feet away and almost to the top of a rock.
They always get where they’re going, I’ll say. It’s just not fast. One step at a time.
If anyone gets it, I’ll get up off the cell phone and totter into my room. I’ll get some of my wooden turtles off the shelf and give one to whoever’s there with instructions to put it out where they can see it.
One step at a time, I’ll say. They get to where they’re going.