Turtle Crossing

Feeling slower than a herd of turtles in a jar of peanut butter?

Driving home from the fitness center we passed a street sign I’d never seen before—Turtle Crossing. Well I’ll be darned! I wonder how long that’s been there? My thoughts quickly took me to the famous Aesop Fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.”

Turtle Crossing by Laurie Buchanan

Turtle Crossing by Laurie Buchanan

I have a lot of energy and unless I’m reading, writing, or doing tai chi, I tend to move at a pretty brisk clip. But I’ve noticed that when I slow down and do things at a more gentle pace, I don’t have the angst that oftentimes accompanies the hustle-and-bustle mode reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

Driving along I’m pulling a Pooh and think, Think, THINKING. By the time we pull into the driveway, in my mind’s eye I can see the wise tortoise smiling at the hare and saying, “Slowly does it every time.”

What gear are you in today?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               — Laurie Buchanan


© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

46 thoughts on “Turtle Crossing

  1. OH BOY

    I saw this the other day too. I was really looking for them as I drove….it is pretty funny.

    Slow as it goes today!!
    Having a great coffee with my girlfriend, staying at her house.Services for mom today, then I am going to stay a couple days at the Convent in Mankato with my friend before going back on Sunday.

    Take Care Kim

    • Kim, I’m sorry to ask, but has your Mom passed? I knew she had health problems but I thought she had recovered. I am sorry for your loss and will be praying for your peace of mind and heart.

  2. 🙂 Love this. Not fast today…so far. I need to do my workout and then I will speed up. Many times my turtle pace is because I am overwhelmed in my mind with all the things I “should” be doing, or “think I should” be doing. That is when I need to stop and ask “What is it YOU know I should be doing right now?”
    There are too many directions I could be going and sometimes I move in a certain direction, praying it is the right one 🙂

  3. I’m solar driven and we’ve had an absence of it lately. However, the weatherman promises that it will return soon. Fingers crossed, for increased sped.
    On another note, to a different song, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” My dad said that often when I was a child. Thank you for conjuring sweet memories : )

  4. Like you Laurie, I rarely let much grass grow undermy feet – I tend to move at the speed of light more often than not.

    But just this morning I read a line in a piece that stopped me cold. It said; ‘In our fast- paced world of list-making, multi-tasking, agenda-keeping and ambitious high achievers it’s ‘craving’ not passion that moves us’.

    This statement caused me to think about my ‘WHY’ – not that BIG picture kind of why, but the small in the moment, ordinary living kind of why that connects me moment to moment with ‘why’ I am doing what I’m doing.

    Then I got a visual of a public service announcement for drunk driving I’d seen long ago saying – ‘Remember Speed Kills’!

    With the energies on the planet speeding up come April it will be even more important to employ the wisdom of Lewis Carroll – thanks for the reminder.

    • Wow Alison, good message. I think I have adult ADD because I have a problem with a need to be on the move, multi-tasking, or frequently changing what I am working on because my mind constantly is thinking of the other things which need doing!

      Thanks for your insight.

    • Alison – A truly inspiring comment you’ve left here. Not only about “why” we do what we’re doing (the motivation behind the action), but the correlation to the “Remember Speed Kills” slogan. Ohhhhhhh, this is fantastic on a number of levels. Thank you!

  5. Today I have been in a combination of slow and fast mode. Partly turtle and partly galloping gazelle. Creatively, it’s been galloping gazelle…have written three blogs already. In other ways, I feel very slow and relaxed and intimate with whatever is coming up. Good post! Thank you, Laurie. Wondering if you’re still in turtle gear or have shifted your transmission?

    • Kathy – You’re enjoying the best of both worlds: turtle and gazelle 🙂 Yesterday after I posted the blog we were in turbo mode trying to accomplish a to-do list the length of your arm — things that needed to be done prior to my attendance at the Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison next week. We got most of it accomplished which now provides me with the opportunity to move at a gentle pace between now and my departure.

  6. I think my clutch may be broken . . . I am in hurry up and wait mode and when I try to switch gears, there is this awful grinding sound. So I am idling . . . waiting, the motor still running.

  7. Wisdom here! Nice sign too.
    When I torn the ligament off the rib that helps to move the ribs when the lungs need to expand, I spent nearly 2 years walking slowly (so I would not get out of breath – too painful) and sitting in one of two chairs – even to sleep. This truly slowed me down – everything down.

    I was still writing with a borrowed laptop, but doing almost nothing else. I now have so much more patience with tasks and jobs…and I was able to cut so much busyness out of my life – although I have spent years practicing voluntary simplicity, I think my body is not there too – my mind is hard to slow down/ meditation assists.

    • Patricia – A torn rib ligament, yowza! And to be able to share the silver lining on that cloud is a blessing, thank you. I really enjoy the term you used, “voluntary simplicity” — wonderful!

      • Duane Elgin has written a number of books about Voluntary Symplicity and William McKibben. My husband and I belonged to a group that met monthly to “practice” and discuss how to do this fully in our lives.

        So the term is not mine.

        We stopped going to our group meetings when the kids were in an alternative school program and were working with voluntary simplicity daily.

        YES Magazine talks a great deal about VS…and I am finding it fun as some of my friends are taking up the workbook in their groups after they retire and to cope.

        My one friend at age 76 has formed her own seniors VS group.

        My partner and I were raised with depression era parents and it just seemed like the way we value programed, our children found it hard to deal with until they got out on their own and now are great environmentalists and VS followers

      • Patricia – I just found that our library has “Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich” by Duane Elgin and put a hold on it. THANK YOU for this wonderful recommendation.

  8. I should have stuck to my rules and NOT jumped into fun internet activities until my chores were done, usually evening. However, I did peek and now I have crashed. I looked this morning and wondered what gear I was in. I was idling in neutral, so since nobody could claim my time to day but me, I decided to jack it up a little. Eased into first, caught second and I was off to the grocery store. Still cold and misty when I pulled back in, so I decided to get back to work on the kitchen. Shifted into third and got all of the walls painted, trim will have wait, still had a bit of gas left, popped it into fourth gear and have got 2 meatloaves in the oven, one for now, and one for the freezer. Running pretty low by now, will shortly put it into park and call it a night. Yep, I will be reading you in the evenings!

  9. Hi Laurie,
    I am on the island for a couple more days so SLOW is the mindful pace I am allowing. Reminding myself that it is one of the things that we are always CHOOSING. If I keep things in sync with inhaling and exhaling, mindfully wrapping myself and others in divine love, there is only one pace that works best.

  10. I have been creatively focused all week Laurie. This feels neither turtle or hare -ish but is more like zen absorption – the rest of the word recedes a ways while I paint. Then, like today, when the painting is done, there is a burst or flurry of energy that comes with a kind of deep belly laugh. I often have this sensation for about 6 to 8 hours before I can feel myself melting and I know that the next couple of days will be at sloth pace — puttering, gathering and taking care of the details of daily living. Think laundry, making an extra special meal, digging in the garden, and talking on the phone with my special people who are far away. None of this has the franticness of my “hare” behaviour which happens with a long “to do” list and the pressure of unreasonable self-imposed deadlines. This week, the hare has been blissfully absent. But I do have a solo art show coming up at the end of June so I can assure you the rabbit is just waiting to be invited to the party preparations. Good thing I have already given the invitation list to my turtle self.

    • Terrill – I like your description of “zen absorption” where all else recedes away. And I can already tell that between the combined wisdoms of the turtle and the hare, your solo art show at the end of June is going to be a glowing success 🙂

  11. 6:30am here, and we are just about to head out to a farewell to the Hutton’s Shearwater (a bird that breeds here, then flies away about 4,000 miles to over winter elsewhere. We just went back from daylight saving to ordinary time.

    Yesterday we went out to celebrate wild rivers, and spent a few hours rafting down the lower reaches of the Clarence River. Golf starts at midday today.
    Life is full.
    Glorious day dawning – no clouds, cool with the promise of a fine hot day (Indian Summer).

    • Just got home from the Shearwater farewell. Interesting morning, met some very interesting people, and learned some new stuff. Interesting to see the results from geolocators and GPS units fitted a few birds.
      These show that most of the bird leave NZ and fly up and around Australia, then back to NZ, some flying as low as Antarctica on their return.

      While here in Kaikoura and raising their chicks, some fly as much as 700km over 4 days just to collect 70g (2 oz) of fish or krill to feed to their chick.
      Amazing what lengths life will go to.

      Golf soon.

    • Ted – It sounds like you live in an amazing part of the world! I’ve seen some of you and Ailsa’s photographs that quickly bring to mind the Swiss Alps–breathtakingly beautiful!

  12. Been going like a hare lately. There is a lot of work so I’ve been working extra hours. 14 and 16 hour days. It’s all I can do to just do it and then come home and sleep. Which I don’t really understand. Why is it my body won’t work for that many hours without being tired? It’s strange because let’s say I just work my normal 8 hours with 2 hours of driving time. Ok if I’m working 16 hours with 2 hours of driving time, it’s still the same thing. I’d normally work 8 hours and then come home and have a small rest before moving on to stuff around the house. So what’s the difference? strange….. Oh well, it’s extra money!!!! Anyway I dislike being tortoise. There is just too many things to do. I feel bad if I just don’t do anything.

    • Beth – Whew! You’re in a whirling-dervish mode. I hope you get to spend that much time in your gorgeous garden soon. Knowing you, even though it’s “work,” it will be extremely therapeutic.

  13. I’m crossing the street a few days late here Laurie, though it appears that traffic on this street in nocturnal mode has slowed up. Truth be said I’ve been running around in mad dog routine, and have fallen behind. When I think of road crossings, I never envision turtles, though I don’t doubt it. I always love the way you incorporate your daily encounters into well-developed posts that offer multi-layered outlooks. I am now in “frantic” gear if you weill, trying to put together by weekly diary post, and seeing what good friends I’ve slighted. I really do feel like a turtle now!

    • Sam – I just got back from visiting your posts over at Wonders in the Dark and it never ceases to amaze me at how many cultural activities you can work into your week–whew! If you’re a turtle, you’ve got a finely tuned, turbo-charged engine under that shell of yours!

  14. Pingback: Noir Countdown Delay, Japan, Stage Plays “Angels in America,” “Macbeth,” “The Mousetrap” and four movies on Monday Morning Diary (April 4) « Wonders in the Dark

    • Readers – Our good friend Sam Juliano hit the ground running on the cultural scene this past week. You can enjoy reading his thoughts over on Wonders in the Dark. I especially enjoyed the word picture he painted for “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Part 1,” but the brushstroke that really grabbed my attention was: “Kushner’s dark, cynical humor captures the fragility of the human condition and his prophetic and sublime words pierce the heart and move you to tears.” Now I’m chomping at the bit!

  15. Your sign reminds me of a humorous moment we had while out driving on a secondary highway with Tim’s brother. A huge snapping turtle was slowly lumbering across the road and another driver had stopped his car, put on his emergency flashers, and stood beside the turtle as it slowly made progress over the center line. We slowed down and gave the turtle and its new friend a wide berth as we went by. But my brother-in-law couldn’t resist rolling down his window and jokingly calling out to the man, “Hey, buddy, can’t you find a better place to walk your turtle?” Fortunately the turtle’s protector had a sense of humor and laughed along with us!

  16. Pingback: Another week’s worth of posts | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

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