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Mystical Connections with the Old Turtle

Sitting by the alligator snapping turtle

Old Turtle — pexels-radovan-zierek

The turtle was in a display cube of water with a big rock. The alligator snapping turtle is one of the largest turtles in the world, and I kept hearing this one was 150 years old. She barely moved, but I moved only a little with my arthritis and I’m half her age. Besides, I kept feeling sorry for her that she was confined to this small exhibit square of water and a few rocks.

Algae grew on her shell, natural in the wild, too. She only needed to stretch her wattled and wrinkled neck up to put her nose out of water every 45 minutes or so. She looks prehistoric, and old, neck skin flapping in the water flow.

My granddaughter was attached to me at the hip yesterday. It was my 70th birthday, and she wore her multi-colored happy birthday dress with glitter. She loves singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles for any occasion. She is four.

We went to a children’s nature center with turtles, snakes, and other small animals native to the area. While the volunteers brought out snakes which she touched with her other grandma, I sat in front of the Old Turtle’s watery exhibit.

Animals that live a long time, like large tortoises and turtles, have a very low heartbeat and metabolism. I have a low metabolism, too. I’ve read the upside is we age more slowly. The downside is this extra weight I carry. My granddaughter is at the stage of no filter, so she says “You have a belly, Grandma.”

The alligator snapping turtle has eyes on either side of its head, down low close to its beak. Its tongue looks like a wriggling worm, so it can simply open its mouth and wait for a fish to swim in to investigate, or catch other creatures by bait and switch. Patience is the main requirement. An early con artist.

I wondered what time is like for Old Turtle. The measurement and energy expenditure are quite different. Other creatures, like may-flies, live a day or so.

I remember the book Old Turtle, and how taken I was with the wisdom of the universe the book displays, as sometimes children’s books with simple illustrations do. I am Old Turtle now.

The alligator-snapping turtle got off her rock to crane and look at me. Her snout was almost pig-like, with big nostrils to take in air, and the beak which can snap off a human finger or crush a smaller animal. Her shell is peaked, with bony spines showing down her tail.

Her turtle neck doesn’t mask the wrinkles and wattles. I am quite in awe of how old she looks.

That may be our last claim, the claim to wisdom. She and I can agree on that, not moving much, luring others to come to us, ready to agree on the universal truths.

Each year Christmas magic comes in its way, never in the way one can anticipate. I might attend a midnight Christmas service, and the ending hymn will be Silent Night with the great descant and everyone holding candles we have lit from our neighbor’s candle. That might be the Christmas moment, though it is a tiny bit manipulated.

One Christmas moment was the year my three-year-old son, now the father of my granddaughter, wore his cowboy hat and ran down the sanctuary aisle to greet the living Baby Jesus with awe. Luckily, Mary snatched up Baby Jesus and held him close so the overcome three-year-old would not mishandle the baby.

That was A Christmas Moment that had had suspense as well as awe, for the entire congregation.

This year my Christmas Moment might be staring at Old Turtle and her staring back at me, representing universal wisdom and the truth that passeth understanding.

Have a Mystical New Year.

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  1. SingingFrogPress
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    Ah yes, I love this one Sharon. Jay and I both feeling like Old Turtle recently. Thanks for your meditations!!

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