the wisdom of the body, turtle

This advent, I’ve chosen to follow along with the musings of Gayle Boss in her book entitled, All Creation Waits. Its theme of attending to the ancient wisdoms of the natural world during this season suits my sensibilities about wanting to listen to my instinctual self,  in attunement with nature, its rhythms and relationships. The first entry in the book is about sister Turtle. That seems to affirm the rightness of this invitation, for me.

Did you know that as Turtle’s body goes into hibernation in the pond’s bottom, her breathing stops completely, and that, just like you and me when our bodies are depleted of oxygen, lactic acid builds and burns in her muscles— including her heart muscle? Did you also know that in order to neutralize that acid in her bloodstream, her body draws the element of calcium from her bones, then from her shell, dissolving that hardness?

While I think I understood that a hibernating turtle’s body slowed down to the point of seeming death, I did not know that she used her shell in this way.  I have always admired that shell, beyond the evident use for retreat and protection, for the way Turtle can be at home no matter where She goes, carrying her belonging with her. Now I have one more gift to open from this friend of mine.

Anyway, I found the words the author chose to sparkle on the page, and so I plucked a few diamonds from those sentence strands and strung them with a few of my own pearls into the semblance of a poem. It speaks to me deeply of the idea that all that I am, and all that I have become – the ways I have grown resilient and strong, along with the inner world I have built – are available to me now for healing, as I burrow into my own roots , deep into the muck, from which all pond blossom’s emerge, and dissolve some of the hardness that has helped me to survive the cold.



responding to an ancient bell, 
you take a breath,
dive deep,
thru murky waters, clogged with roots,
burrowing beneath

the weight of frigid waters beg
instinctual withdrawal
a body buried in the muck
survives a cold like that
 
slowed beyond a breath
when breathing is impossible
the pain within your heart demands
utter stillness, quietude
 
while howling squalls batter
you wait below the noise
your very structure comes undone
 hardness is dissolved

to neutralize accumulated
acid in your heart
 the very thing you need to thrive
your elemental self

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