Saturday, January 1, 2011

How Turtles Come to Spend the Winter in the Aquarium, Then Are Flown South and Released Back Into the Sea

Somewhere down beach, in the morning, at water's edge, I found a sea turtle,
its huge head a smoldering apricot, its shell streaming with seaweed,
its eyes closed, its flipper motionless.
When I bent down, it moved a little.
When I picked it up, it signed.
Was it forty pounds, or fifty pounds, or a hundred?
Was it two miles back to the car?
We walked a little while, and then we rested, and then we walked on
I walked with my mouth open, my heart roared.
The eyes opened, I don't know what they thought.
Sometimes the flippers swam at the air.
Sometimes the eyes closed.
I couldn't walk anymore, and then I walked some more
while it turned into granite, or cement, but with that apricot-colored head,
that stillness, that Buddha-like patience, that cold-shocked but slowly beating heart.
Finally we reached the car.

The afternoon is the other part of this story.
Have you ever found something beautiful, and maybe just in time?
How such a challenge can fill you!
Jesus could walk over the water.
I had to walk ankle-deep in the sand, and I did it.
My bones didn't quite snap.

 Come on in, and see me smile.
I probably won't stop for hours.
Already, in the warmth, the turtle has raised its head, is looking around.
Today, who could deny it, I am an important person.

They say there are 9 Whooping Cranes at Payne's Prairie today - I am itching to be done with this blog so that I can run there to find something beautiful.  I think for the rest of this year I shall run towards beauty wherever I might find it so that I can be filled with challenge. 

Perhaps the real challenge is to see beauty everywhere, and let that love and awe fill us with bone snapping, urgent purpose.

Shall we all be important people this year?

How do you plan to be important this year?


  1. I have enjoyed all of Mary Oliver and your reflections and questions. I am so glad you decided to continue. Thank you for redirecting my reflection time.

  2. Hello Sally! Okay, 100 more days then!

  3. Thank you! I loved your comment at the end -"bone snapping urgency". Darn right!