Thursday, March 11, 2010

Turtle Carries Earth on his Back

I love turtles!  Don't you!
Near by there is a Ridley turtle rescue facility
and if you ever get the chance to learn more about turtles,
you will find they are amazing creatures.
I walked outside in my yard and what did I see!!!
This turtle! 
It brought a smile to my face!
No it's not a sea turtle,
just one that came out of a nearby pond.
Sometimes here on the coast we see
lots of pretty good sized turtles,
much bigger than this one in fact.
He was about the size of a platter.
 When I got close he of course ducked into his shell,
as turtles do. 
But soon he peeked out and said hello.
I didn't bother him,
snapped a few photos and
just watched him slowly walk off
and find a hiding place
in some tall grass and wildflowers
in the empty lot next door.

When I first saw him I thought of
an old Native American story
about the turtle.'s the simple things that bring you the most pleasure.

The Turtle...

In the beginning there was no earth to live on, but up above, in the Great Blue, there was a woman who dreamed dreams.

One night she dreamed about a tree covered with white blossoms, a tree that brightened up the sky when its flowers opened but that brought terrible darkness when they closed again. The dream frightened her, so she went and told it to the wise old men who lived with her, in their village in the sky.

"Pull up this tree," she begged them, but they did not understand. All they did was to dig around its roots, to make space for more light. But the tree just fell through the hole they had made and disappeared. After that there was no light at all, only darkness.

The old men grew frightened of the woman and her dreams. It was her fault that the light had gone away forever. So they dragged her toward the hole and pushed her through as well. Down, down she fell, down toward the great emptiness. There was nothing below her but a heaving waste of water and she would surely have been smashed to pieces, this strange dreaming woman from the Great Blue, had not a fish hawk come to her aid. His feathers made a pillow for her and she drifted gently above the waves.

But the fish hawk could not keep her up all on his own. He needed help. So he called out to the creatures of the deep. "We must find some firm ground for this poor woman to rest on," he said anxiously. But there was no ground, only the swirling, endless waters.

A helldiver went down, down, down to the very bottom of the sea and brought back a little bit of mud in his beak. He found a turtle, smeared the mud onto its back, and dived down again for more.

Then the ducks joined in. They loved getting muddy and they too brought beakfuls of the ocean floor and spread it over the turtle's shell. The beavers helped-- they were great builders-- and they worked away, making the shell bigger and bigger.

Everybody was very busy now and everybody was excited. This world they were making seemed to be growing enormous! The birds and the animals rushed about building countries, the continents, until, in the end, they had made the whole round earth, while all the time the sky woman was safely sitting on the turtle's back.

And the turtle holds the Earth up to this very day.


Bea said...

I love that story. In a sculpture class I made the Woman standing on the turtle's back. Her cape was raggedy and worn, she held her hands out in a pleading gesture. Inside, her cape, it was painted blue with silver sparkles sprinkled all over it. The instructor stopped by my table. She looked at my piece and said, "This is all wrong, the bright should be on the outside to get people's attention."
I sipped, through a straw, the bottom of my ice tea container, making a terrible noise and smiled. I mean what can you say to somebody like that.....YOU DON'T GET IT DO YOU. AND YOU ARE PROBABLY THE REASON WHY MOTHER NATURE IS SO WORN AND TIRED and protecting what she has left.
Sigh.............Thanks for the story and the memory. :)Bea

Healing Woman said...


What a beautiful story! Which tribe did it come from? Did you notice the little turtle shell I placed on "Within the Within" art doll? The scales are so delicate. Turtles are mentioned in so many of the Native American legends.

Thanks for posting.


Kris Henderson said...

What a great post Yvonne! I love turtles :) Would love for one to show up in my yard! But I'm a city girl and chances for a turtle to appear are pretty slim :)

Yvonne said...

Bea, some people just don't get are right!!!! And that's too bad isn't it.

Yvonne said...

Cheryl, I think this story comes from the Iroquois tribe, if my memory serves me right. I know other tribes have other folklore stories about the turtle but this one is the one I always remember.

Yvonne said...

Kris, glad you stopped in. WE are such a rural area here and it's flatland so the turtles love it here. LOL

Yvonne said...

Oh Cheryl , I did notice the little turtle piece on your Within the Within art doll. All of your work is just amazing. I am partial to the Native Am. genre and your work is just lovely.

Trudi Sissons - Two Dresses Studio said...

LUCKY you! I would be beside myself in joy if we had turtles here. The story is wonderful!

Yvonne said...

Glad you stopped in Trudi. Yes, the turtles always bring a smile to my face.

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

I {heart} turtles very much. Other wildlife is attracted to our garden, but we haven't seen a turtle for way too long now.
Wishing you and yours a lovely weekend!
Glorious sunrise post too!