On the tyranny of things

turtle in the window

I carved this turtle out of a piece of cedar firewood my Aunt Harriett had given me back in 1990.  She thought the wood had better potential than providing twenty minutes of warmth via her fireplace

I hung onto the fragrant cedar with its strong demarcation between the red and the lighter wood within it, until one day I saw a turtle there.  Not just any turtle, but one that would speak to getting around the world all ahoo, as a handicapped individual.  Legs in braces and long wooden crutches not always working together for smooth, comfortable ambulation.

One of my turtle’s front legs was twisted, so she walked with her foot turned backwards.

turtle's twisted leg


Turtles, to me, appear to radiate patience in their slow plodding along, crossing meadows, making their arduous way up out of water onto good deadwood or rocks for sunning.  Sadly, getting run down on roads because they can’t move fast enough to get out of the way.  Tucking into their strong shells preserves the turtles from many perils, but not from those unkind persons who think it fun to deliberately run over them.

Me, I’ve never been that patient about the enforced slowness and awkwardness of my condition, but in the determination to get where I want to be, to shut out who and what would make life more difficult, maybe I can channel a turtle.  Maybe.  Keep on moving forward, put my energy into the process of the journey.

At last a turtle reaches a pleasant sunning spot where it is isolated from the rest of the world by a span of water or a particularly high rock.  I, too, have need for good space in which to be away from parts the world that stares at me, that categorizes me as someone not quite a full person,  A place to simply Be Me, relating to the great and mysterious forces of life on this planet and beyond without consideration for the reactions of anyone else of the human variety.

You don’t grow well when forced to be in defensive mode too much. You need a good space in which to be away from that persistent self that would spend its time thumbing its nose at difficulties.  You need the space to put the forces of life into the kind of order you need to smile as you move forward, however that is.

Her shell, you can see, isn’t large enough for her to retract into it completely.  That’s because she needed all her energy to face the world, not to hide from it.

So here is my old turtle, saved from the fire to live out her life as my testament to persistence, patience and the good sunning spaces of life.

turtle's awkward stance

Author: Rising Over the Smoke

Rising Over the Smoke is me looking for larger patterns, hidden meanings in what goes on all around us. The world gets more conflicted and confused from one year to the next, or so it seems. Some days life feels fresh, open, energized, connected, others more nuanced, confused, distanced, lethargic. To me writing is a way of exploring my place, and perhaps that of others. I am Baha’i, thus my thoughts are affected by my faith. Beliefs include independent investigation of truth, equality of men and women, the essential harmony between science and religion, that there is one God from whom all the world’s religions spring, that we diverse humans are all of one family. The Baha’i Faith is unlike other existing world religions as it does not claim to be the only “true” path or religion. The Baha’i Faith acknowledges all sacred traditions and religions as equal.

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