Thursday, November 12, 2020

Why a Turtle (Again)??

 The Significance of a Stone Turtle

Or a Turtle Made of Stones

Depends on:

Which Turtle in Which Place?


Frank Speck tells us what he found out about turtles 100 years ago or so,

More recently Ed Lenik tells us this and that about turtles

  – and admits he only has some “Educated Guesses.”

We colleagues all know by now he’s not the only one to say,

“Only the person who created it knows for sure.”


Could be a symbol of the Earth, the first animal, the first clan,

  Could be a symbol of Longevity, Patience, Perseverance or

     Fertility (a womb), Turtle Island (a Homeland), a Hunting Ground

And as Guardian Spirits of Paths and Trails or of Specific Places

When found as a carving on an outcrop – or the shape of an outcrop

Or the shape of a boulder

 Or as heaped up stones resembling the shape of a Turtle,

 Unmistakable head and shell as well as many other details

That may suggest what species the Stone Turtle might be…


My first Turtle was a Box Turtle, the Grandfather Turtle

              – or is it Grandmother Turtle??  

At the edge of a Late Woodland or Contact Era Village  

   Where the Mast Forest began (where the “stone walls” disappear),

Perhaps the place to pray, the place to start the ground fire under the big trees,

 By the Creation Turtle seems a good place to begin

A Ceremony for Balance and World Renewal for that specific place,

Crowned by a Cathedral ceiling of oak and chestnut, hickory and walnut…

My second Turtle was uncovered by chickens scratching,

At what seemed to be Farm Junk Piles

Surprised while gathering kindling

By a low domed snapping turtle perhaps

And 20 years or so later I was surprised to see

Another in the retaining wall where I’ve lived for 40 years

Where my wife and I stood in the yard to take our wedding vows,

Just below that second turtle, surrounded by other smaller turtles,

Perhaps graves, perhaps memorials, perhaps signifying Turtle Clan

(Like that Turtle down in Judges Woods in another Memorial)

I just don’t really know…

 Above: Judges Woods. Below: A Diamondback Terrapin Effigy above the Hammonasset Salt Marsh, "Hunting Grounds," like Ed Lenik says, not for a Turtle Clan, but for the Diamondback Terrapin, if you are looking for the simplest answer as to "Why this particular Turtle in this particular place…"


 As a modern day observer of Stone Turtles

Or Turtles Made of Stone

The main significance is that the Stone Turtle speaks, saying

“Indigenous hands were on these stones,

Placing them just so in order to resemble Turtles…”

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