The Turtle Knows the Way

"Leave me alone!"

“Leave me alone!”

On my trip back from the gym today, I saw a bump not too far from the house and slowed down. It was a turtle. I remembered how this time last year, a mama turtle had visited our back yard and spent a half-day digging up a place in the mud to deposit her eggs. This was that same time of the year. Slowing down, I gave the turtle enough margin and pulled around into the garage. But I was curious, looked out the window to see how my friend was doing only to spot another car speeding down the street oblivious to the fact that this was a designated turtle crossing. Now the road where I live swings around one of the more than 400 bayous in Louisiana; there’s usually not much traffic, but there are construction trucks and SUVs rushing around in the late morning. So I got worried about the turtle and went outside carrying a kitchen towel, figured I’d give my friend a lift across the street so it wouldn’t become turtle soup. When I got there, the turtle was actually high-tailing it rather swiftly, I thought, long legs pulling itself past a pool of water left by a recent downpour. Still, I wanted to be helpful. Who knows when the next vehicle was about to race down the street filled with saw horses, poles, and metal of various twists and turns, streaking towards its destination? I bent down with my towel and attempted to lift the turtle out of the road by either side of its shell. It almost jumped at me, opened a reptilian yellow mouth that was rather nasty looking. My feelings were hurt. After all, I had gone out of my way. I tried again. The turtle was enraged and spun around pushing itself with a longish tail letting me know in no uncertain terms that my help was not needed nor requested. For a moment, I thought of people in my life whom I had tried to give an assist. “Leave me alone. I’m fine. I don’t need your help,” and got very snappy. Let the turtle cross by itself. It knows where it’s going.
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About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
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2 Responses to The Turtle Knows the Way

  1. Fran Parker says:


    “Turtle Crossing” is a neat story with psychological insight. As the oldest sister of my five siblings and a “fixer” of problems, it took me years to realize it was unwelcome interference. I am a rescuer of ladybugs. My mother who died two years ago at 95 often called we daughters “Ladybug.” We had never paid attention to ladybug sightings before–until we compared notes about one landing on a niece’s arm in the swimming pool of her Houston Apt. complex. In our homes, on the patio, everywhere, usually when we feel distressed, overwhelmed or discouraged. Too much of a coincidence. We know they are messages from Mother that restore our peace. If they’re belly-up, we gently turn them upright. If they’re inside, we pick them up in a tissue and put them on the grass outside.
    Please email me your email address. Quite a coincidence seeing both you and my first boss at Brookshire’s last week. A funny story about the encounter. He seemed smitten by a lovely lady as short as he is.

    • Lenore Weiss says:

      Hi Fran:

      Thanks for your comment. I love ladybugs. I’ve been swarmed by them in the Bay Area during mating season. They are like jewels on a rock.

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