It seems like every run lately has involved a turtle sighting. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I live in the boggy South, where heat and humidity have a summer long competition to see which one can make me the most uncomfortable (humidity won today). Still, I run a lot, and to see turtles as often as I have lately feels a little like a message.
Even the trail I often run is sending me the turtle message:
As I plunked along this morning, cycles whizzing past me at Tour de France speeds, runners easily lapping me, it seemed even the wildlife mocked me. I thought of all the turtles I’ve seen over the past months, and it dawned on me: these are Turtle Days.
Now, this isn’t really a thing. I realize that. But, I have a particular affinity with the tortoise of fable. I, too, am strong and steady. And, slow.
I may not be fast, but I plod along, solving the world’s problems in my mind, writing the great American Novel, plunking along until I get to the end. Then, I go home, shower, live my life, and do it again the next day. Slow, steady, true.
Most days, I’m fine being the slow, steady one. But, I’ll admit, it plays with my psyche. I mean, will I ever be fast? Or, just faster? Doubt creeps in and does its ugly number on my mind, and, if I’m not careful, soon I’m thinking, “Why bother? I’ll always be the slow one. Why keep on keeping on? ” I’ll admit, it sometimes discourages, even defeats me. I mean, am I just not built for speed?
Then, I think of those turtles that I’ve seen. Hmmm… they don’t allow the fact that they are the slow, chunky kids on the playground to stop them from coming out to play. Seriously, if my runs of the last few months are any indication, they are the most active kids on the playground. Turtles are everywhere. Coming and going, hither and yon. They don’t allow their lack of speed to stop their progress.
There’s a lesson there.
Most of the time I have no problem being the tortoise and not the hare. I’m accepting of my lack of speed and I’m ever hopeful that one day I’ll be faster. Until then, I’ll plod along, getting stronger, solving world crises, and writing the great American novel in my head. I’m winning all the races in my mind, as well, so there’s that.
I’m in this running game for the long haul, so I’ll keep on moving forward. Plunking one foot in front of the other, reminding myself that it’s not about speed for me, but endurance. I want to be running when I’m 90, after all, so for me that means slow and steady now, and maybe always.
I have a lot of admiration for this little guy though: