My Turtle Self

In the lowermost layer of the pond I make my home. In the deepest, darkest, and dankest part of the pool I sleep through the cold season. By immuring myself against cold and hunger, my immovable body becomes part of the watery world, my immobile form invites vegetation to take hold, and aquatic animals live in the forest I carry on my back. Alone, yet not lonely, I lead my life, too old to propagate my seed and species.

From time to time I emerge from the murkiness to linger, to drink in the blue sky, the golden rays of sun, the fresh and fragrant air. These elements fill me with pleasure, but what lies beyond the perimeter of my circumscribed existence does not. Pollution, loss of habitat, hate and strife and war. I want no part of it.

I submerge myself once again, seeking oblivion. Ignorance is my bliss.

37 thoughts on “My Turtle Self

    • Very worthy, indeed, Steve. It’s funny that you gravitate toward the word immure. I honestly don’t remember if I wrote it before or after my mural post as I often schedule them weeks in advance, and not necessarily in the order that I finished them. But thank you for noticing. 🙂

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  1. That is really interesting that it grows a meadow on its back. We see gigantic snapping turtles here but they don’t have vegetation growing on them, generally. At first I thought this was a snapper but the snout looks more like a soft-shell turtle. Your essay makes me want to take a big eraser to all things human and let us start over on a more humble, earth friendly scale.

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    • I tried to figure out the species, Melissa, and when I compared my photos to some on the Internet, I actually came to the conclusion that it was a Snapping Turtle. I found a few photos that showed them with these snouts. But I don’t really know my turtles, so will withhold judgment.
      Sometimes when I’m out and about in nature and experience its beauty and order, I apologize for all the bad things we humans have done to it. 😪

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      • Me too. And I’ve been reading “the Warmth of Other Suns” which is making me want to march up to every Black person I see and apologize to them for what people of my race have done to them. Seems we have a lot to apologize for!
        The tail of your turtle seems to have points on it, which suggests alligator snapper. For years I thought that was the only kind of snapper until recently a biologist here informed me that they are actually quite rare and far less common than the common snapper. I think I need to take him out to where I hang out!

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      • I agree, Melissa, we , have a lot to apologize for, but that does not seem to come easily! We can try it in our own little spheres, and maybe the ripples will spread from there.

        It would be wonderful to have a naturalist along during our outings for consultations, we would learn so much!

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      • I just heard of a group called “Rednecks for Black Lives”. It is a group of Southerners working toward equality. I was so pleased to learn of them! They were featured yesterday on NPR.

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  2. Hello Tanja,
    What an amazing series! This turtle seems to come right out of a children’s fairy tale book. I loved reading his “inner thoughts” too. I hope you and all your dear ones continue to stay safe.

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    • Thank you, Takami, it was a memorable encounter. 🐢
      Other than being very concerned about the increase in cases and in the resulting polemics, we are doing ok. I hope the same is true for you!

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  3. Looks like you do have a snapper turtle, Tanja. 🙂 Your post in the turtle’s words is wonderfully written! I hope s/he is able to keep claim on the pond and live life to its fullest. While viewing your photos, I immediately felt a close bond with your turtle, we both need a haircut! 😉

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  4. Turtles seem to be everywhere just now — I’ve been reading post after post about the marvelous creatures. I just came acrossthis post about a wonderful, midwestern box turtle, and I think you’ll enjoy it. I certainly never have seen such a grassy old girl (or boy?). Most of the time, I see sliders sunning themselves, or crossing roads from pond to ditch in the fall or spring, when they’re exchanging one form of existence for another.

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    • Thank you for the link, Linda. I definitely see turtles during many walks around here, but know very little about them. They appear ancient and otherworldly, and it was interesting to read that our fellow blogger has known one particular turtle for decades. I find that remarkable!

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  5. I also think your image is of a snapper, Tanja. Looks very much like those I’ve photographed…sans the landscape on its back. 🙂 It is a shame the effect we have on the innocent lives of those who do not even get any benefit from that which we do.

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  6. I love how you’ve written this. Nature suffers from humans whether it be polluting our planet or destroying habitat. Life improvements for us means extinction for them…even if it takes many years.

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  7. Fascinating stuff and great photos. I love how we can’t separate this ancient reptile from the vegetation on the shell. Perfectly combined to create one prehistoric Being.

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