I stopped by the Charles River today, choosing a sunny spot right on the riverwalk, near the intersection of Pleasant St. and Bacon St. It was that time of the afternoon when my soul says to me, “Step away from the computer, ma’am,” and my body needs either chocolate or a good walk.
I stood and gazed. Not a lot going on down there: just some lily pads hanging out, a few dragonflies. Then I noticed a turtle sunning itself on a branch. I watched the turtle for about ten minutes. He didn’t move a muscle. Geese honked by, ducks floated past, flies swarmed and unswarmed. There he was.
I kept watching. The second ten minutes were amazing. I became aware of how loud the traffic was behind me. I was astounded how much traffic there is on Pleasant Street in the middle of the afternoon. My mind restlessly urged me to get back to work; my to do list kept poking me in the mental ribs. “You could be running errands, silly!” “You could be reading the Bible or updating the website or writing letters to your congressman.”
But the turtle hadn’t moved, so neither did I. It was like a spiritual staring match.
Minutes twenty to thirty were the best part. By then I had come to terms with my decision to just be. I decided that the turtle was my mentor in this work. Tenzin Turtle, Mwalimu Turtle, the Most Rev. Turtle. Not far from us, Watertown police officers were busy keeping order, construction workers were building yet another big box something or other on Seyon Street, foodies were anxiously picking through the bok choy at Russo’s. Busy beavers, they. But we were just being, Turtle and I.
Then my iPhone rang, and I was off, leaving the turtle to do his thing. Namaste, turtle. Glad I chose a good walk over a Kit-Kat bar.