Yesterday on the drive home, a large gopher tortoise was up ahead. In transit, his domed back and claw legs lumbered along the country road into our neighborhood. Since the hurricanes last fall, tortoises are seldom seen, so I was happy one was out and about in the sunshine.
We braked to yield to this unlikely pedestrian, but he immediately froze in the road, unsure of the next move.
Cars began backing up. Without thinking, I sprang to the rescue. My fear for the lone tortoise's safety exceeded my fear of picking him up--something I'd never done. I ran out in the road and gulped as he waited for the next move. Many scrapes and scuff marks on his dusty brown shell proved he'd made it through other narrow escapes.
He needed help to get across the road to safety. My heart pounded, as I reached down. He was so big. Maybe he sensed my anxiety because he quickly tucked himself away inside his thick brown shell. He now looked more like a large domed serving platter, easy to transport across the road, without any fear of snapping at me. When those clawed feet touched the grass, he picked up the pace, no doubt thankful for a lift in running his race.
But something had changed deep within me. A lifting of the heart. And it happened simply because I got out of my own thick shell to reach out and help another.
Sometimes we just have to do it afraid...
Interesting to later learn, a keynote of tortoise is movement through pressure.
Enjoy your day with your Guardian Angel.
Love and peace,
(older photo RKHauck of a different neighborhood tortoise)
(Tortoise - Animal-Wise, Ted Andrews)