Main image
23rd June
written by Susan


Sea turtle hatchlings moving toward light. (photo: qnr-away for a while on Flickr)

These sea turtle babies appeared over at the FDL blog on Friday. Triggered by the sighting, my mind flashed back to a family vacation in Florida (1969?). Out for an evening beach walk, our family encountered a large group of turtles spread over a wide area – who were in various stages of digging nests and laying eggs!   

Most of all I remember the tears; giant pearl droplets that ran out of their turtle eyes as they dropped dozens of eggs in the nest holes. Why were they crying? Perhaps they were sad? This 12 year old girl did not understand.   

Today I read that the sea turtles in the Florida Gulf are in danger. And it’s not just from the oily dispersant-filled waters. BP cleanup efforts conducted on beaches at night under bright lights have the potential to disorient and confuse hatchlings. As a result, many may not find their way to the sea. This is shaping up to be another potentially devastating problem.   

Lest we forget, the act of cleaning up has consequences too.   

Of course the turtles don’t know about the toxic brew in the waters. And as long as the BP lights are off, they’ll be on their way. Yet I’m afraid and sad for the little guys…it seems the odds of them making it through are so small. This time giant pearl drop tears run out of my eyes.   

Today I learned that sea turtles cry to remove excess salt from their body and to clear sand from their eyes while on land. Their eggs hatch about eight weeks after they’ve been laid. Very few eggs actually hatch, and the hatchlings that survive will have to overcome many obstacles. Upon hatching they orient to the brightest part of the sky, the horizon, and on the way enter into the sea.   

I am reminded how perfectly Mother Nature provides for her children.   

She’s practical, and as designed, uses tears to remove excesses and encumbrances. She’s proactive, laying many eggs to counter balance the reality that few will hatch. Mother Nature imbeds wisdom into her “art-work” as a female sea turtle knows her duty and fulfills her destiny when nests are dug and eggs are laid. There are no attachments to the act of birth or expectations for the future. Since mother sea turtles are not around when the eggs hatch, the hatchlings instinctively initiate the process of survival…they simply follow the light.   

What could we learn from Mother Nature that might help us now?   

That Nature protects and provides, renews and reclaims. That there is perfection in the design and in the processes of birth, life, and death. That things are what they are.   

Thankfully there are kind, concerned folks who are fighting for the turtles; let’s hope they will succeed. Life in the Gulf requires great patience and strength. May those who are fighting for the lives of Mother Nature’s children be blessed.   

May the sea turtles find their way.   

We send what aid we can…including our LOVE and gratitude.


  1. 01/07/2010

    Nice piece — sobering and humble.

    I’ve seen a lot of sea turtles at sea and they always amazed me. I have been fascinated with them for years especially at how fragile their existence is and how miraculous their travel can be across oceans. Absolutely amazing.

    I can’t stand how much we don’t understand about our own planet yet seem to actively plot against it. We’re in such a precarious transition period where I believe we will be better off as a society after going through some terrible turmoil.

    In fact, we’re already in it. The depression and sadness you feel is part of the transition. I think that you sense a loss of connection that perhaps people you love who are younger than you may never experience. That is truly sobering to me. Instead, we are replacing the natural wonder of what you experienced as a 12-year old with artificial experiences designed to excite and entice.

    Now, instead of observing the lifecycle of turtles first hand, we’ll have an IMAX film or an interactive zoo that will no doubt be very incredible, but nothing compared to authenticity.

    I’m afraid my daughter will never get to see the things that humans have been interacting with for thousands of years. She’ll be the first generation to inherit nothing. This makes me more sad than what I can focus upon and get through day-to-day.

    Thanks for the site and the words. Please remain a witness.


  2. Jill

    I loved this Susan. Uplifting…..but still so so sad. It brought tears to my eyes. I watched Anderson Cooper tonight (a favorite of mine) he is trying to keep this disaster in the forefront yet our Coast Guard and BP keep trying to keep the press away. I think it is so much worse than we even know.

  3. Auntiegrav

    Thanks, Susan. An inspiring story. It inspired me to think once again about how we humans have lost touch with our animal selves and the wonderful things our natural bodies do without thought or imagination, and how we evolved to do those things before we got imaginative. How our feet get tough if we don’t wear shoes, how we feel the taste of a fresh cut pineapple through our whole body.
    Too many things we do are just being done to ‘kill time’, and in doing so, we kill the simple pleasures of being Time ourselves. I had an epiphany the other day that Time only exists in our memories and imagination. The physical universe is always Here, Now, in this Place. All of the science theories about alternate universes distract us from the real Here and Now that is our Real Time.

  4. 04/07/2010

    On Auntiegrav’s post above:

    We have lost touch as you so tenderly point out. This loss makes us vunerable – in creating and in responding to what happens in the moment.

    As the Gulf crisis grinds on, we can choose one of three paths: 1) wish it would be over (run to the future) 2) wish for the way things were before it happened (run to the past) or 3) face the reality and offer what you can right here, right now (embrace the present).

    You really captured the essence of our delemma in your contemplation: “Time only exists in our memories and imagination”. Memories = the past. Imagination = the future. We can use these as tools to TRANSFORM ourselves. On the Gulf situation we might say to ourselves “NEVER AGAIN”, which is an idea (imagination) originating in experience (a memory). TRANSFORMATION takes place when one lives in the present moment under the influence of NEVER AGAIN – and chooses to live in alignment with that mantra.

    In this moment… I close my eyes and swim with a Gulf turtle – sending LOVE and GRATITUDE for the beauty you are. I can walk to the store today! I enjoy the presence of my neighbors who are out on their porches and in their yards, I am grateful for this delicious breakfast. My life is a blessing.