Turtle Time

A couple of years ago, a good friend gave me this beautiful photograph of a hatchling snapping turtle, framed with a quote from Lao Tsu: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

I was reminded of this today as I slowed my car down to watch and carefully pass a large flock of European starlings and brown-headed cowbirds that kept flying down, in graceful concert, into the road in front of me. The woman driving the car behind me immediately moved to pass me, and though she decided against it, I watched her throw her hands up at me in exasperation and impatience.

Nesting leatherback sea turtle - Culebra, PR 1987

Nesting leatherback sea turtle – Culebra, PR 1987

The holiday season can bring out the best, and sometimes the worst, in our species. For many, it is a time of frantic hurrying, piqued anxiety and immeasurble stress. I myself get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, and when I do, I try to remember  to take a lesson from the slow, sure, steady lives of the amazing turtles I’ve worked with over the years. I take a deep breath, and find comfort in the knowledge that it will all get done eventually.

In the words of the wise old turtle Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, but Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” Here’s to slowing down and enjoying the moment this holiday season!

Douglas, the ornate box turtle Oct. 2013

Douglas, the ornate box turtle Oct. 2013