the turtle

I ran over a turtle on the way to work this morning. At least I think I did. I didn’t see it until the last second before it disappeared under the car, just a flash of a brownish grid pattern most commonly seen on box turtles. There was a thump as the front tire bounced over it but when the back tire hit there was a sickening crunch as if crushing a piece of pottery. I did a quick glance in the rearview but it was all in shadow so I couldn’t see anything. I don’t like killing things. Unless it was critical to my survival, I could never hunt and kill anything. My brain immediately went into guilt overdrive, conjuring up all manner damning judgment against myself for (possibly) taking a living thing out of this world for no justifiable cause.

My brain is wired in such an odd fashion that as I drove on, the synapses started firing in such a sequence that the image of a woman I dated in college arose. Well, perhaps dated is the wrong word. Having never met me, she summoned up the courage to ask me to a sorority formal. I didn’t even know who it was when she called me. Eventually I agreed to it, but not because of her but because so many of my friends were in that sorority and I wanted to be with them. We had a good enough time, but it was sort of strange as we really didn’t know each other that well. In addition, the formal happened to fall on my birthday so, needless to say, I got good and wasted at the party. Not sick or passing out, but you could have picked cotton out of my mouth for sure. Eventually we got back to her room about 3 am and I passed out, 3 piece suit on and all. I woke up about 7am, mumbled something incoherent, certainly, and left for my room. To this day I really never knew who she was and I never made the effort to further any sort of relationship.

I was struck, after the turtle incident, just how much courage she had to muster to make that call to me and put herself emotionally on the line. I wish I could tell her how much I admire her for that, and how I’m sorry I wasn’t mature enough to take the time to get to know her.

So, I guess there is something good that comes from the turtle incident. It made me look at my actions, no matter how far past, to help me grow even at this advanced age.

Maybe I should donate my brain to science…so they can all have a good laugh…



Filed under life, self esteem

7 responses to “the turtle

  1. That is an odd thing to think of when running over a turtle.

    just anf yi… The turtle is a symbol for strength, fertility and perseverance. It was considered a power fetish animal. It was believed to have the ability to defy death. So maybe it didnt smoosh. Or maybe when the Natives thought up that totem, cars weren’t in that lovely picture.

    • The turtle is a symbol for strength, fertility and perseverance
      since i’m not feeling any of those things these days maybe the whole experience was a metaphor…

  2. Sorry little turtle. The brain is a complex and beautiful thing. Maybe the remorse you’ve had for that gentle creature who asked you out years ago is not unlike the sorrow you felt for the innocent turtle…and your synaptic sparks were quick to make the association. Either way, it’s a good heart who expresses such things.

  3. eesh, i hit a squirrel recently and that crunch under my wheels was an icky enough feeling. i probably would have pulled over to vomit if i hit a turtle.

    you’ve grown, whether a turtle initiated the thoughts or something else did. the world would be a better place if we all could say the same.

  4. You are a strange man… but that’s why I like you!

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