My wonderful, nature-loving wife, Marla, discovered this young, freshly-hatched Snapping Turtle wandering around in our yard and called me to take pictures. Snapping Turtles lay from 20 to 30 eggs on land — in sand or soil — and when the little “snaplets” hatch, they (hopefully) head for water. I took photos of this little fellow and then tossed him in the river that we live on. I saved him a lot of walking/wandering time and prevented him from being eaten by crows, raccoons, and such.
When i was very young — at grade-school-age — i went fishing one day with my grandfather and father. They caught a big turtle — it wasn’t a snapping turtle — and wanted to take it home to make Turtle Soup out of. Yuk! They kept the turtle in a huge fishing net (high up on the bank); the turtle was trapped in the net as it faced the water… wishing to run in. I felt very sorry for the turtle… and gave the big net a swift kick. The turtle managed to get out of the net; i never saw a turtle run so fast; it ran, like lightning, straight into the lake and quickly swam off. Of course, i got a good “yelling-at,” but felt that it was well worth it! That lovely creature got away!
Most humans are trapped and don’t even know it. The net is their traditions, their societal norms, their iron-clad religions, their immoral habits, their separative ways of looking at the world and its so-called separate parts. They think that their net, their beliefs, religions, prayers, mental projections, meditative techniques, and customs are ensuring that they remain very safe. But the net is a net… a limiting, fragmentary, man-made trap that is not helping in a holistic and truly healthy way. One cannot easily kick or leave the trap because one’s very foundation and mental constitution consists of the trap. It is very arduous to go beyond the trap but it is not so difficult if wise/keen and very pure perception occurs without all of the nettings that were crammed into (and around) one over the many years. To look without the known involves no learned technique, no remembered procedure.
That turtle, many years ago, cared more about freedom than most people do in this very nutty age… (with callous, narcissistic, dictatorial leaders popping up worldwide like mushrooms). Their well-designed traps were carefully fabricated to entrap you.
[Please… don’t laugh about the possibility of “flying, airborne turtles.” In reality, from what one has seen so far, many people are a lot less likely to fundamentally change away from the self-deceptive, standard, run-of-the-mill, crass, bourgeois mentality… than the occurence of turtles evolving to fly.]
Who knows: Those huge webbed feet could be turned into wings over time! Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016
Being truly mindful or of a deeply meditative mind, is not something that one can know that one is experiencing or part of. The beauty of the unknown is that it cannot merely be held or captured by the known. It is a state of true humility where the one who may be involved with it is not certain that it is being done. There’s no certitude in full mindfulness and profound meditation, because the unknown cannot be captivated (and owned) by the known. So many of us are indoctrinated by mere symbolic knowledge… by the known; it is what was poured into us — formulating us — throughout our youth. Even our individual concepts of self are essentially learned symbols and images. Concentration is all well and good, at times, but it has little to do with this; this goes far beyond mere concentration. Concentration involves focusing on various images and mental patterns (symbolic patterns). Concentration is often necessary, but a mind that merely concentrates is stuck in a very limited segment of what the mind is capable of. We’ve been concentrating for eons, and look where it has gotten us. We may have better machines and more comfortable lives, but we are lost in symbols, competition, separative ideologies, with power-hungry leaders and mechanical systems manipulating our lives.
It takes great courage and intelligence to step out of that field (that so many of us are immersed in). To leave the field of the known (i.e., the field of absorbed symbols and learned mental formulations) is, indeed, a kind of psychological dying. However, it is where the true innocence and true beauty of a different kind of intelligence exists. Not doing it is truly a morbid kind of decay. Most of us want to be certain. We remain (perpetually) in the field of learned images and symbols; we are frightened to go beyond that. Interestingly, remaining (perpetually) in that field continues with what remains secondhand, stale, and unoriginal.
My heart goes out to those in Charleston, South Carolina who lost their lives or loved ones. The Confederate flag needs to go. To many, it (justifiably) represents repression and hatred. Personally, one doesn’t care to wave flags of any type. If you are a global citizen (i.e., a true citizen of the world), then separative flags have very little meaning. Flags tend to reinforce the feeling of separation and indifference regarding “those at a distance.” Many think that their country or area is superior to “that” country or “other” place… or is superior to “those other people.” During war, so many feel that “God” is on their side… as if God takes sides in violent, separative confrontations! A truly perceptive mind realizes a profound truth that places it in a common bond (united) with all living creatures. Separative flags (of any kind), which promote boundaries and divisiveness (and they pretty much all do), have little significance to a mind that is truly in such a bond beyond demarcations.
[This baby snapping turtle was in the backyard, running about. The adults lay their eggs in the ground; when the babies finally hatch, they need to quickly get to water (or else they get eaten by raccoons, coyotes, foxes, or crows and such). After taking a few photos, I carefully tossed this little guy into the river that we live on.]
Baby Snapping Turtle (1). Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015
Baby Snapping Turtle (2). Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015