He takes his time, moving across your lawn. You didn’t expect him to be there at all. You would’ve saw him at a zoo or an aquarium behind glass, where children of all ages admire his shell, but complain about how slow he is.
But there he is, this reptile slowly walking across, his home on his back. You know it will be easy to grab him and toss him onto someone else’s yard, but you don’t.
For a moment you admire him. He probably has been in worse danger before he reached here. He’s dealt with other houses on this block. Some of them have noisy children under the age of six, frolicking in the grass, screaming, picking up things to put in their mouths. Those little kiddies are always curious at that age.
Some adult probably would have tossed him into the street if their four year old was going to grab the turtle.
The turtle could fit right in your hand, its legs extending past your palm. He’s a wild one so he might bite your fingers off with ease. It’s amazing how the head is quick to react, yet the body is in its own realm.
You envy the turtle, wondering how life can pass him by and he still moves just the same. You want to pace yourself. But work comes first, family responsibilities, friends’ hangout parties, your daughter’s ballet practice every Sunday, visiting your mother at her new retirement home.
All these obligations that are important, yet no time for yourself. So you glare at the reptile who has the audacity to violate your lawn, a lawn you spent two hours cutting that morning.
The traveler begins to approach your kiddie pool, slowly gliding through it with no problem. Even its strokes in the water are slow. You remind yourself to clean the pool later, after you pick up your little girl from ballet practice.
The turtle presses forward and finally reaches the small rows of tulips and tomato plants by the fence. You squint and notice a convenient crack in your fence, enough space for the turtle to go through.
It has been thirty minutes of staring. You realize you haven’t done anything that you are obligated to do that afternoon. You just stared at a turtle for thirty minutes, not giving a damn about the fast paced world. For a while you realize it was your time, your choice to stare and watch.
Finally a moment for yourself.
You let out a dry laugh and the turtle soon disappears.