She was trying to be inconspicuous to us on the trail as we pedaled and ran past. Her feet the color of the dirt and her back a compliment to the grass. She was focused on her priority, besides striving to not be seen. Perpetuating the cycle of nature, her wish to achieve.
I felt a range of emotions as her and my path intersected for a brief time. One is that familiar reverence for how many years she has lived to become her size. Another feeling was sadness at what would happen after she lay her eggs so diligently. At a point in the upcoming night the sanctuary she had built would be found by thieves. I bear witness each Spring to eggshells scattered to and fro. Unfortunately, they’ve been opened before they could grow their precious cargo.
I wish to tell her I am sorry for what will come to be. Yet, true to Nature it is she who has messages for us to heed. This dear snapping turtle lives from the purest place of faith. She follows her essence that includes the laying of her eggs. She trusts the rhythms of life, and the rhythms of dying, too. She doesn’t worry about the future and what if or what might be. She trusts that the baby turtles met to hatch will survive nest robberies. For at least thirty years – as long as she has been alive – this dear turtle has flowed in trust with the seasonal turns of life.
She will protect what she believes in, at least until her time to leave the nest. When she walks away, she has let go to let come what is meant to be for the best. She respects others and only asks respect is given to her the same. She will honor where you wish to step if you give her equal space. She values sharing, understanding she is one of many integrated into harmony. She needs the grass and soil and they need her equally.
She is confident and she is humble, not a seeker of center stage. Between being bold and blending into the background she moves with a steady grace. She is proof that beneath hard shells are beautiful souls. That there is always more to others than we think we know.
Fast forward a few days to her cousins basking in the sun as they, too, whispered “be”. Each sharing a piece of the log, precision in their choices for how they were facing. Not hurried, in the way they universally agree. Snapping turtles and painter turtles both communicate “no need to hurry”. Each unique and yet joined in a unified goal. Dear messengers whispering, “it’s ok to take it slow”.
Nature has much to teach us, if we choose to see. Just ask an inconspicuous snapping turtle blending into her surroundings.