I was driving into town via one of the many back roads around my house, when at 45 miles an hour I saw a silver dollar sized turtle. I suspected my mind was playing tricks on me but I swerved anyway. And just for good measure turned around and headed back to the spot I thought I saw it. But sure enough, there she sat in all her itey bittey glory. So of course I picked her up and put her on the passenger side floor board. I have been told that other people when they save a turtle from eventual pancake-ness just put it on the other side of the road. Well honestly, that thought never crossed my mind. I always pick them up and take them with me. Sometimes this means they have to go to the grocery store before being let out in my yard. Or in Stella’s case, go to a carnival. Because on this particular day I was
volunteering to paint faces for a FRG event. So with turtle in tow I spent the day painting faces and showing kids this tiny natural wonder. It was at the carnival she was christened “Stella.” I am sure there are many people who disagree with me, but I think there is something magical about finding a turtle. And watching the children’s faces reflect the same enthralling sence of wonder I felt confirms it.
There is also an unexplainable wisdom within turtles’ eyes. A sentience that seems to place then within a hidden realm of fairies and gnomes. Even this little baby seemed to have knowledge and age in its gaze. Those tiny mottled gold eyes also contained amazing beauty, patterning and color. It is small beauties such as little Stella’s eyes that inspire me. I spent almost two hours photographing her. I was sitting on the floor, hunched over and cramped but when I was done I felt alive and rejuvenated. I felt like I had captured something amazing. I had caught on film (or memory card really) a rare, and thus more valuable glimpse into magic.