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  • Where I come from, a 'fish tale' is an exaggerated story about the-Really-Big-One-that-got-away. That's what happened to me today. Though I wasn't fishing per se. Rather, I was walking in the woods and, as usual, I had my camera with me.

    Twice previously this week I've asked Mother Earth to show me animals as messengers to contemplate as I consider my current circumstances. First, I was graced by Dragonfly and then by Turtle.

    I asked again today as I drove to the forest by the lake. I headed into the woods. After about five minutes, I saw something on the path ahead. Quite large. My first thought was Turtle again. But then I thought, "Nah...too large!" Maybe it's some big stones someone put there or perhaps part of a fallen branch.

    As I got closer, I saw that it WAS a large snapping turtle...right in the middle of the path. Almost as though it was waiting for me. The tail alone was at least a foot long. It took up most of the path from left to right. Believe me, LARGE! I'd say about three feet from nose to tail.

    I started taking photos. As I was shooting, I remembered a Cowbird story (sorry...I don't remember whose) about observing something from many different angles. So I did that.

    And I was thinking, "Wow! Mother Earth REALLY wants me to pay attention to the message of Turtle. Big time!"

    Then I walked on toward the beach. I stopped to listen to a young man sitting in the lifeguard's chair and singing "Ring of Fire" as he accompanied himself on his guitar.

    As I was leaving, two guys who were cleaning up litter asked me if I'd gotten any good pictures. "Yes!" I said. "I got some wonderful shots of a huge tortoise [sic]." And I turned on the viewer of my camera. Alas, I had forgotten to insert a memory card before I left home. It was still in the computer!

    I headed back down the path, there was no sign of Turtle. She had moved on in her quest for a good place to lay her eggs.

    ~~~~~~

    So, as I walked, I asked myself, "What is the deeper message here? What is this unexpected teacher?"

    A couple of things come to mind for starters:

    First, memory card or no...I was in my observation posture. I SAW into the depths of Turtle's big and very black eyes. I saw the front claws that were easily an inch long. I saw the scrapes and scars gained from when Turtle had been in some very tight spots. I saw Turtle's long tail. I saw Turtle standing very still and being very observant of me. So, as I see it, the primary purpose of taking photos was served...again, memory card or no.

    Secondly, the cosmic joke is on me! I've been quite deep (heavy?) these last days. This event felt like a signal that it's okay to be deep...but to also take it all with a lightness...as in ephemeral.

    The image is a scan (as much I could get to scan) of the message that my camera had no memory card. Seems fitting since it shares top billing in this story...along with the-Really-Big-One-that-got-away.

    ~~~~~~

    And, BTW, the audio was a complete accident. I didn't realize I was recording until I got home.... Another part of the teaching.... How often does THAT happen? An encounter by interested others AND an accidental recording of it. I walked on.

    Real time life! Perhaps a better story than if I'd actually gotten a photo!

    With a smile! Life is very sweet!
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