The Wisdom of the Turtle

When is the last time you saw a turtle?
Okay, everybody except you outdoors types, the city kids if you will.

Think about it...

Annette and I saw several turtles on our camping and fishing trip last weekend.  

One fella was kind enough to let Netter take several pics, some from as close as 3 or 4 feet away. He was almost posing.
(photo credit to Netter)

Because we were so close, it is odd that he would stay still for so long for us to take his picture, but not so odd to see a turtle on a lake.

But wait...

On Monday, I saw a turtle trying to cross one of the main roads on my way to work. A 4 lane highway and this turtle was far enough into my lane that I had to swerve to avoid him. The car behind me swerved too. I don't know what happened after that. I thought about going back and moving the turtle off the road, but ultimately I didn't think that would dissuade him from going where he thought he needed to go. If anything, my pushing him back would be nothing more than a delay in his trip.

(Care to join me for a little side trip here.)

On Tuesday, legendary Detroit Tiger radio announcer Ernie Harwell passed away.

Ernie was an integral part of my young life. For a variety of reasons my family moved a lot when I was a kid. I went to 3 different kindergartens, 2 different second grades, switched to Catholic schools after 3rd grade, moved from Redford, Michigan to Lima, Ohio after 5th grade and to Grove City, Ohio after my freshman year in high school. For those of you who are counting that's 9 different schools. I had to make new friends a lot, which as we all know is not always the easiest thing to do.

Ernie Harwell was my constant companion. In those days not all the games were on television. Heck, we only had 4 channels for most of my young life. If we were lucky we got one Tiger game, (when we lived in Michigan) and one NBC Game of the Week each week.

But Tiger games were always on the radio on Superstation WJR 760 out of Detroit in those days and Ernie was always there to be my friend, to make me feel at ease. I felt like I was at home.

I met Ernie once before a ball game at Tiger Stadium. He was walking across the infield grass during batting practice and I was sitting in the stands directly in his view. "Ernie, Ernie, um - Mr. Harwell, Mr. Harwell." I shouted, remembering my manners at the very last minute. "Alright Son, I'm coming," he said, and that's all I remember. I was in shock. Ernie Harwell had talked directly to me. He signed my program, which I still treasure to this day, and went on his way up to the press box. A brief moment with a legend I feel privileged to have and to treasure.

(Back on track)

Before the beginning of every baseball season Ernie Harwell would recite "The Song of The Turtle" passage from Song of Solomon.

"For, lo, the winter is past,the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

I had heard this in passing, but as I didn't listen to a lot of spring training ball games I had never actually heard Mr. Harwell in his recitation until I found this video on YouTube today.

Still, as I read about Ernie and studied his history as I am wont to do when someone famous dies I kept running across this passage, and Ernie's history with it all day Wednesday and Thursday.

Today I watched the library's Summer Reading Club promo video. And... you guessed it, another turtle.

"What the heck is with all the turtles?" I wondered.

Finally, today when I ran across this post from Seth Godin on Quieting the Lizard Brain, or that part of us that makes it so difficult to do what we say we are going to do...a lightbulb went off.

I thought about that turtle last weekend who let us take his picture, even posed for us because he wanted to be in the sun. We didn't phase him. I thought about that turtle on Monday who was going to cross that street because he needed to, he wanted to, 2000 pound vehicles be damned. I thought about the turtle and his song that he sings every spring without fail because it is a part of who he is, and I considered that the turtle in the clip I saw today was there to smack me in the head and make me think about the wisdom of the turtle.

Unwavering, steadfast in his determination, and committed to the task at hand. There are no doubts. There are no second thoughts. The turtle just moves forward and keeps on going.

Quite a contrast to the lizard brain. I've had plenty of lizard brain moments in my life. Too many to count, and the more I thought about this I realized that I have found most of my success when I have been the turtle moving forward without hesitation.

Slow and steady wins the race.

What do you think?


TiffanyOh said...

Totally love this post! Lizards and turtles - who would gave thought we'd glean so much from them! I agree, slow and steady is effective, especially if you ate not about to be 'splattered to smiterines' :).

Greg said...

Good post Jimmer. For me, its about the last piece you mention. Once you have a goal, you need to be un-wavering in your approach. But, you also need to keep them in perspective daily with all of the other priorities in life.