November 14, 2017 Allison, who misses nothing, spied the baby turtle. A tiny creature, it could have surfed on a dollar bill. She (my gender wish) was struggling to scale six inches of asphalt curbing. Beyond this barrier was a patch of damp grass, twenty yards of sand, and the rolling sea. This creature, informed only by instincts, had a homing plan. But the curb was a problem. Flippers are made for swimming, not climbing.
It squirmed when first picked up but adopted a resolved calm, as if informed by an ancient script. In thirty seconds the turtle was in wet sand, then tumbled by a small wave. No mystery now. Minutes out of a sandy nest, the ancient codes lit all the neurons. Our little pal caught the next breaker and swam to the surface. Head high, she scanned the horizon and liked the possibilities. She took a dive and applied 100,000,000 years of grace to reach the bottom. A journey that could last eighty years and span hundreds of thousand miles was underway. If a female, she will return, with eggs, to this same beach.
The sea is full of hazard for a tiny creature living on nascent instinct. We don’t calculate odds but opt for an assumption of survival. Life is uncertain but the antidote is faith. From time to time we are all entitled to affirm our own truth. And we are certain that someday a seven-hundred-pound Green Turtle will crawl from the sea and lay a few dozen eggs in the damp sand of Grotto Beach on the Isle of St. Croix. It will be a time well beyond mine.
Thinking of journeys, I compare my well supported sorties into some wild places with that of a turtle hatchling. I am sixty-plus, well experienced and lavishly equipped. Armed with maps, GPS, and compass my path is well defined. The turtle is minutes out of an egg, perhaps hungry, and certainly hunted. No selfies, no coffee breaks, no advice. The journey is purely a journey, endless and uncharted but adhering to timeless rules of renewal. Suddenly, my little journeys feel a bit trivial and self-indulgent. But still no regret. My inspiration is renewed.