Giant Tortoise: Poetry in Motion

Posted by on Mar 15, 2018 in Unmowed Blog, wildlife | 0 comments

Ran into this lovely lady in the Philadelphia Zoo. She’s the oldest animal in zoo, but you’d never guess it—she’s very well preserved. Almost a hundred years young. She lived on an island in the Galapagos until 1928. When she was born—or, rather, hatched—is not known.

Giant tortoises move, and live, in slow motion. I guess when you’re carting around a shell that heavy, you really don’t want to waste even the slightest movement. As I watched her, she pondered for a long time, then heaved her enormous shell off the ground. Her massive legs began to propel her toward the water hole. She moved with grace and majesty, step by deliberate step, like a queen or a brontosaurus. She reached the water, bent her regal head and took a drink. I could see the swallows of water slowly rippling along her long neck.

When I met her, I was a person in a hurry—I only had a few minutes to spare before I rushed off to the next meeting. But she reminded me that those who move slowly actually get more out of every experience. Living at her pace, there’s a chance to see and savor and experience life. You’ve heard about the tortoise and the hare.

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