An Open Letter to the Eastern Turtles

Dearest Turtles,

I’m terribly sorry that I don’t know your names; but then you might not have names. Alas, how am I to know? I don’t even know the proper name for your species, but then I’m sure you don’t know it either and don’t care to, so that’s alright. I shall be I and Thou shall be Thou.

I must tell you that you have unwittingly brought much joy and encouragement to me and to many at Eastern. You are a delightful and admirable creature whose simple enjoyment of the sun is at once an admonition and an invitation. It is as if you were prophets sent to remind us: Behold! Consider! The turtles of the lake, for they toil not, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them and clothes them more richly than Solomon.

Perhaps from you we may learn the true meaning of leisure: a simple and pure-hearted receptivity, an openness of spirit to the gifts of God. When you kneel on the log and stretch out your heads towards the sun, you teach us how to receive a gift: to reach without grasping, to receive without taking, to suspend our selves and, in doing so, become more truly ourselves.

By contrast, your monstrous cousins in Lower Lake grasp: snap! I do hope there is peace between you and them. If you get a moment, please ask them to be gracious and gentle with those among my species who insist on feeding them. I fear that if we cultivate greed and consumption in others we ourselves shall be greedily consumed, if not by them then by he who roams about as a snapping turtle seeking someone to devour.

I have also been informed that some of your kind have been injured because of certain irresponsible practices on the part of my kind involving plastics. I hope none of you have experienced this at Eastern. I hope we can live together peacefully for a long time to come.

Finally, I am sorry that we cannot get along better. I understand that you are rather introverted and prefer to be left alone, but is it really necessary to dive into the water whenever we so much as walk by? Perhaps someday we shall understand each other better.


A Human

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