The Magic Turtle Shell by Martha Meeks
February 4, 2024

I was a little girl when my Dad started taking me and my sister fishing. I went more often than my sister did. I was more tomboyish than her. I loved going fishing because there were many open cow pastures around the fishing pond my Dad took us to. He called it a lake. I certainly thought it was too since I was a little tyke. Everything looked big to me. It was only later after I had grown up and went back to this “lake”, that I realized it was only a farm pond. Funny how things look so different when you have grown up. My Dad was a big fisherman. This was his hobby and sport. I think it was a form of meditation for him. Although, I doubt he even knew what it meant to meditate. He would be somewhere every week-end fishing. We went to this little farm lake every weekend. I remember the high wall on one side of this pond. It was the perfect place for the black water moccasins to live.  I did not like seeing them. There was also a muskrat that would swim across the pond. It was kind of fun to see it.

My Dad taught me about the snakes and how to pay attention when walking the path. And to remember to stay on the path around the lake. There were good fish in this pond. We always caught Brim the size of your hand. There were many Large-mouth Bass as well as some very large Catfish. Some days were good fishing, but others not so much. Either way it was always good to be outside and specifically with my Dad. Of course I loved and adored him. After all, he was my Daddy. Most little girls feel this way about their Dads. He taught me about Mother Nature and how to enjoy the great outdoors. My mom did not like to be outside. She had been asthmatic since a little girl and did not like to be outside too much afraid of an asthma attack. I always felt she was missing out, but not everyone feels close to the great outdoors. My sister was more like my mother. She too preferred being inside in a controlled situation.

I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends who my dad would let me invite to come with us.

This affords me the liberty to be able to run through the pastures. Dad knew there was  safety  in numbers. So he allowed us to do just that. We would crawl under the electrified fencing around the property. I would touch the fence accidentally at times. Boy what a little electric sting I would get. It would only make me move faster to get under and out of its way. We would run through the fields to look at the cows on another side of the electric fence. We always admired these very large animals but we respected that they could hurt us if given the chance. We stayed on the other side of the electric fence for our safety.

On one of these trips to the lake, I saw something shining under a tree. This piqued my curiosity. I thought it may be a big rock shining in the sunshine. The closer I got the more I realized it was not a rock but something more interesting. It was a turtle shell that had been bleached out by the long hours of  being in the sun. Turtles will die with their shells on. If in the sun for hours, which this one was, the turtle corpse dries out and disintegrates. This leaves only the shell bleached out by the sun. There is no color to this shell any longer.  Since I had never seen this before, I had to contemplate what this thing I just found was. I turned it over and then saw where the turtle had been attached to the shell by its spine. I was simply amazed by this little treasure I was lucky enough to find under a tree. I had great empathy for this forest creature. I took the shell with me. This would be the first of three I found on my excursions into Mother Nature.

The other day I was at my kitchen sink washing dishes. I was remembering the turtle shells I had found as a child. I wondered where they had gone. I couldn’t remember what I had done with them. Where in my life had they disappeared? Guess I had thrown them out. I was wishing I had one now. I would paint it in beautiful colors and maybe some cute flowers in each little panel of the shell. It was close to a meditation just imagining having one now. Oh how fun that would be.

About a week later, I was once again in front of the window washing dishes ( I could only hope the dishes would wash themselves!) I saw something in the front yard. It was something white. It was not there yesterday. Must be something the dogs brought up. I dried my hands, went to the door and went to this item in the yard. Low and behold, it was a bleached turtle shell!!! I was amazed! This shell showing up in my yard was like magic! I thought, “This must be what it’s like to manifest”! This is not the first time I have manifested something, but I will leave that story for another blog.

Turtle shell found in my front yard.