Monday, May 23, 2016

Skywoman and World Turtle Day

Skywoman is a Native American creation myth appropriate for World Turtle Day because all the Earth is carried on a turtle's back.

Robin Wall Kimmerer said, "On one side of the world were people whose relationship with shaped by Skywoman, who created a garden for the well-being of all. On the other side was a woman with a garden and a tree. But for tasting its fruit, she was banished." I believe she is talking about my people.

The first time I saw a sea turtle laying eggs on the beach it was the at the cove at what was then my grandparents' farm on the Miles River of the Chesapeake Bay. It's no longer there.

It was a loggerhead. The miracle, I thought then, was being allow to stay up late. 

Of course I realize now it was to see the turtle.  I wish I could go back in time and see it again and save everything.  The farm was sold to developers.  It no longer exists as habitat for turtles. My grandparents have been dead a long time.

One-by-one ping-pong-sized eggs were deposited into a shallow nest made by the mother turtle by the phragmites. My uncle shone a flashlight. Her look was galactic. Prehistoric. I thought she might hiss like a dragon but she was quiet as stars. That I swam in the daytime in waters that she swam in! I thought about my exposed toes. I would ever after in the water wear beat-up sneakers.

Because I was scared of Mama Turtle.  She was Sky Woman's daemon. She was queen.  Holling Clancy Holling's Minn of the Mississippi: 

I was not worthy to share the water and hoped I would never see her again. Sometimes you get what you wish for, unfortunately. I've never seen another turtle laying eggs on a beach but that once and Skywoman.

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