"SHELLS",  2001,  size varies, ceramic

"SHELLS", 2001, size varies, ceramic

I think I’ve spoken before about my relationship with turtles..

The turtle chose me long ago as my animal totem.

I really wanted something cooler like a hawk or whale or eagle; something recognizably powerful and majestic.

But turtle came to get me.. not just turtle, mind you.. but the DESERT TORTOISE.  Impossibly old and capable of navigating extreme terrain.

As time creeps forward, I see why we are together.

A turtle has some of the same characteristics that shells have..

They both carry a highly sophisticated and almost impenetrable outer shell.

No need for guns or sirens; the unbearably soft inner tissue is safe.

But they can choose… choose full exposure should they decide to.

Choose to come forward with the gift of that impossibly soft and vulnerable mass of evolving and changing tissue; continuously moving forward toward ‘becoming.’

One of the teachings for me personally, seems to be that I become aware of the total CONTAINMENT these creatures exhibit.

They are not dependent on outside forces for safe haven and carry their homes with them.

Their pendulous and painfully slow movement is the antithesis of what our culture celebrates and honors.


I am slow……………these days.

Strangely and quite unexpectedly, it allows me to constantly get all my ducks in a row, so to speak.

I find myself with a much larger reservoir for love, for instance..

And I let kindness wash over me for minutes, even hours, instead of almost missing it altogether.

I catch an intuition.

I see a friend’s eyes go from bright to dimly glazed and back again to bright at the mention of something or other.

I feel tears in the back of my throat left there weeks ago; uncried and losing their patience.

I sense how my legs lose their rooting when I’ve got my attention on the place I’m going instead of right here where I am.

And then, when I’m spent from all the energy it takes to keep BECOMING, I retract my long and vulnerable neck and arms and legs and tail and slip into that hidden nest where I’m pretty sure I can’t be found.

Until I want you to…

And more than likely, I’ll have something new and maybe dear to whisper in your ear or take your hand and we’ll have an adventure.


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