By Angela Noel
June 23rd, 2016
Confucius said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” This sign, posted in an alley in my neighborhood, made my day. The sign maker took the time to not only witness the turtles experiencing the first journey of their lives, but commemorated it for others, like me, to see. Confucius would be proud.
Simple things, like seeing beauty in baby snapping turtles and telling others about it, can change the world, one story at a time.
I don’t know who made and posted this sign. But he or she gave me, and any others who saw it, a whimsical and poignant memory. Below is a tiny tale about the turtles and their human, my way of paying that gift forward.
Why do Turtles Cross the Road?
He brought a trash bag full of half-eaten Hungry Man dinners to the garbage can in the alley behind his house. Lifting the heavy lid caused his stiff fingers to tingle with pain. The stench of hot trash made his nose twitch. His eye caught movement. Three tiny rocks slowly advanced towards his feet. He bent over to squint at them. The baby snapping turtles opened and shut their wee jaws at him as if to say, “help me.”
He saw the two squashed siblings of the three survivors. A minute, maybe two passed. He knew he could save the babies from the potential danger of an alley frequented by cars. But he didn’t. In his many years of practicing medicine, he had never set a bone that had not yet broken, so why interrupt a perfectly good turtle journey because he or she MIGHT be in harm’s way?
Instead, he shuffled into his garage, unfolded a lawn chair and watched the babies for an hour or more. His legs outstretched, he monitored their slow progress down the concrete surface. No car molested them, though he heard the rumblings of an engine and the crunch of tires nearby. Would he have saved them then? He didn’t know, couldn’t know.
His vigil lasted until the babies reached a hedge and disappeared. The man sighed. He returned the lawn chair to the garage and went inside his quiet home. Snapping on his desktop computer, he opened a new document and typed out the story of the turtles and his hopes for them.
Baby Snapping Turtles!
Wednesday, August 18, 2015
5 found in the alley
(hope the rest made it to the lake)
Carefully spacing his words, he hit print. His fingers throbbed as he cut the paper down to size with his wife’s forgotten and rusted, black-handled scissors. Then, he covered the paper with tape; the forecast, he remembered, had called for rain. A leftover dollar-store flag from the 4th of July, cheap fabric removed, could serve as sign post. He planted the sign in the alley. He stood back, hands on slim hips to admire his work. Wrinkles appeared where his smile pushed his cheeks heavenward.
What’s your “turtle journey” story? What act, big or small, have you seen your fellow humans do that made you smile?
Please share a moment of beauty that you’ve witnessed by commenting below. I can’t wait to read YOUR stories!
Be awesome in real life.
For more on these ideas:
- Must watch 3-minute video from a Thai Insurance Company. (Really, watch it.)
- Brene Brown explains the difference between empathy and sympathy.