The Pondering Grapefruit
a blog of moments
Wow, it has been more than a month since my last post. I do have an explanation: I had finals the first half of May, and then the last half of May I was hosting friends who visited me before graduation. Graduation itself happened on May 26. Since then I have been resettling back home in Atlanta. Now that I've found a job, reconnected with friends, and renewed my climbing membership, life is stable enough where I have free time to work on this blog again. The theme remains the same: I am focused on sharing insights and wisdom I gained in my personal life.
Most recently, a turtle visited me. I woke up one morning to find him in the garage, huddled under a cabinet. It has 12 scutes at the bottom and a mottled pattern on the head, so I think it is a Blanding's turtle. Because it has sharply curved claws, a depression on the bottom shell, and a fat tail, I think it is a male. Say hello to Mr. Turtle.
I played with him for a while, observing the way he crawls, hops, hisses (Turtles do make noises, after all!). He liked to crawl under furniture, and he especially liked sitting on top of my kitty slippers under my bed, where it was soft and dark and safe. Eventually though, I took him to a nearby park called Stone Mountain and released him there.
The moment he came close to the waters, he calmed down and stopped trying to escape from the bowl. When I plopped him on the ground, he crawled towards this log and began burrowing inside the leaves. He seemed so much more comfortable, natural, and kingly in the woods, his true home.
By the end we saw just his shell. He had made his nest for the day, and Mr. Turtle was happy once more.
Blanding's turtles may live up to 80 years in the wild (they live far shorter lives in captivity, sadly). This one had well developed patterns on his skin and shell, so chances are he is my senior. In fact, he seemed ancient. His eyes had the solemn clarity of someone who has seen and experienced much. His pointy, curved mouth seemed bird-like, and since birds arose from dinosaurs, he reminded me of a mini-modern day dinosaur.
Mr. Turtle's visit opened my mind to much pondering. I realize how different our worlds were. He knows of the lands and the lakes, the leaves. He knows how to be cold blooded, how to move with slow, clunky grace. I also realized how cruel it is to capture animals when they are at no risk in their natural environment. Most Blanding's turtles are caught from their homes and sold as pets. It pained me to think of such a majestic animal being stuck in a cage for so long, when its real home consists of entire lakes, its furniture giant logs of long-lived trees.
I thought of habitats, how each animal has its unique habitat where it can thrive best, and how that logic may be prescribed to humans as well. Our lives may suffer if we are placed in a habitat not suited for us. I am learning more and more about what belongs in my habitat and trying to structure my life to that model, and also telling myself that it's ok to prefer quiet forests to screeching jungles.
The last thing: that everything has its own nature. We must spend time with it, observe it, and only when we really understand it can we love it. Or perhaps, love arises from true understanding, for once we truly know something, we are able to recognize its unique beauty, which otherwise, in the light of ignorance may appear as faulty or foul.
So thank you, Mr. Turtle, for your company. I'm glad that I was able to give you a new home where you won't run the risk of getting run over by cars.
About this Blog
I have no idea how to describe what my writing is about. I just write. I post when I can, which can be weekly or monthly depending on where the universe is taking me. As for the Grapefruit, my Vietnamese nickname, Buoi, means grapefruit.