This Could Be Your Shell of Protection

Well, it finally happened.  I found an eastern box turtle!  She was crossing the street, and after observing her in our backyard, we delivered her to her original habitat.  She was headed for the wooded yard of a neighbor (who just installed a lovely garden pond and lots of landscaping perfect for a turtle), so we brought her there.  

We watched her for a long time.

Eastern Box Turtle © Live with Flair 2011

The eye color and shape of the shell tells us that this turtle is female.  I can’t stop looking at her shell because it reminds me of something.

It looks like tiny children were finger-painting and made hand prints on her shell!

Eastern Box Turtle © Live with Flair 2011

As my own children romp and jump about me, I consider that I too have a home covered in hand prints (dirty walls, the sticky refrigerator door, the smudged table, and as art projects in frames).  I, too, am an aging woman with bumpy thighs (have you seen me in my bathing suit?).

And like the designs on her shell, I’ll carry the marks of motherhood–in its broadest sense–forever.  Hard and all consuming, you wear it like a shell you cannot shed.  On the worst days, it feels like a prison. 

But that’s what it means to choose adulthood, to choose to care for the next generation, to choose to nurture everyone in your path.  It’s not a prison.  It’s protection.  

She’ll keep these markings forever.  When I look at this turtle, I see impenetrable strength and resolve.   We let her go into the neighbor’s yard.  I’m not worried about her.  She has places to go, and even if it takes her a lifetime, she’ll get there.  She has the protection, now, to do so. 
Journal:  When I see myself imprisoned by my circumstances, can I instead see them as my shell of protection?  

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  1. Hi Heather! I am so envious of where you live!! The game land area of State College is great and it sounds like you have easy access to a lovely walk there. I pray you are well! What church do you attend in SC? Sometime when I am there visiting, I'd love to see you!

  2. The other day the dogs were barking at something just outside the fence. It was a snapping tortoise – it had flipper feet and nails, was large and having previously tried to pick one up to move, I left him where he was – near my creek and out of range of the dogs. Your turtle is lovely. Yes, there are days when my being an adult feels ponderous; and then, there are the light days :).