There is a an old folktale that turtles cry when they bury their eggs. I can see why people who have seen a mother turtle lay her eggs, bury them, and leave them to the universe to take care of would look into her wet eyes and believe that she is crying. It is an incredible system of reproduction that requires the cooperation of the universe to be successful. Not many creatures on this planet rely so heavily on synchronicity for the birth of their next generation.
Watching a mother turtle create a nest for her eggs is like watching any mother labor. She digs deep, lays her eggs in as safe a spot as she can find, and then uses every ounce of energy to cover them completely- to protect them. By the time she is done created a nest for her eggs, she is out of breath and exhausted. She must then make her way back to the ocean, leaving her offspring behind to develop and fend for themselves, hopefully with the help, not hinderance, of forces outside of their control.
A few nights ago I watched a mother turtle re-enter the ocean, never to see if the eggs she laid would hatch. I was struck by just how much work these creatures do to find a safe spot for their offspring to develop, only to leave them to their own devices to return “home”. I watched a poacher (one of many on the beach) gather up her eggs quickly, excited to make some money to feed his family, unaware of the consequences of his actions. As I looked at this poor man and wondered how hungry his children were, I also wondered how long the human rape of the earth can possibly continue before the earth just gives up on trying to replenish itself. There must be a balance somewhere.
As luck would have it, just days later I also saw what it looks like when 70 baby turtles emerge from their nest, ready to take on the world (well, the ocean…). They emerge sleepy, confused, and not in complete control of their limbs. But within just one short hour, they are bursting with energy and ready to blindly head back to the ocean, their world, completely unaware of where their inner drive will ultimately lead them.
Watching 70 baby turtles scurry across the beach, looking for home is quite a sight…. and also quite reminiscent of our own pursuits. When unfettered, we humans also scurry in the direction we were meant to go. We rely on the universe for our continues survival, even when we do not know we are doing it. We burst with unbridled energy when we pursue our purpose. We know which way is “home” and we know, without being told, which path is ours.
We kid ourselves into thinking we are different, above, all other creatures on this planet. It’s a lie we tell ourselves to bury the collective guilt of misusing everything that has been given to us; a lie we perpetuate to retain our false sense of control over the planet. Perhaps if we could see just a tiny piece of ourselves in other creatures, we would not so readily impede their ability to survive.