I eagerly showed up for master class … and was schooled by one of the ancient elders.
It was lying mostly submerged in sand and water and not moving. I watched it for several minutes, seeing no movement and hearing nothing turtle-like.
Hoping by some way that it was okay: I walked over carefully and pulled up – once – on its shell just above its dinosaur-like tail. (Always cautious. Its head was submerged.)
(Understand: if the turtle had been moving, I would not have tried to touch it, period. It’s a wild creature: they don’t prefer human touch in general. In the rare cases they allow touch, they’re clear about welcoming it. My single pull was to verify that if indeed it was as I feared dead, I would respectfully turn it over and find out what happened to it.)I waited, after the single gentle pull, not touching the great shell/any part of the turtle again. Moments after my pull, a strong turtle hind leg kicked back. Still here and kicking!
I stepped back a few feet and watched.
The large master turtle gathered its feet under it, then its leathery neck craned right to initiate a quarter-turn spin in my direction.
I heard a very very faint three short sounds total – like a small amount of pressure released from a tire.
Its mans-fist-sized, sand-covered head extended out from layers of neck and its right eye blinked, observing me.Feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland, I said softly: I’m sorry I disturbed you. I thought you were dead. I AM glad you’re not.
I sat down on the sand where I was and waited.
The turtle sat where it was and watched me … probably for only 2 – 3 minutes (it felt longer to me, of course).
I in turn admired its amazing crocodile-like tail, formidable ridged & sectioned shell, strong-as-an-oak legs, neck, head and tip of its immutable face.After that, the turtle turned back and leisurely slid across the sandy shallows, then started slowly swimming further along the shore.
There was no fear in its movements … more a sense of ‘okay, my curiosity’s satisfied, now to find another place’.
I stood up to watch its head tip surface at times, saw its shell bobbing just below the surface of the shimmering water, noted its prehistoric ridge tail curving proudly behind it.
What a pleasure to watch, observe, a master. I made an honest well intentioned mis-take & learned from it. No one was harmed. All is well.
I walked back over to where I’d found the turtle lying. Powerful swish marks from its tail leveraging, plus a deep divot then triangular trench from a prominent ridge underneath
its shell plowing sand aside during its easy exit … reminded me that things older and wiser than human kind still walk this planet. For that, I am glad.
I left, with frogs leaping gaily to their destinations still, alongside … and to the beginning tune of a single mockingbird’s wail.
(Search term ‘master class’)