I asked for turtles and I got turtles. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but it’s safe to say I got more than I bargained for. Anyway, back to today.
This is Day two on Oahu. Kisa and I are in the way back of the minivan. Me gawking at everything. Everyone else blathering away about something. Probably the first thing my in-laws will tell you is that I’m quiet. Yeah, I guess. Quiet when I know it’s better to keep my mouth shut. Quiet when I can’t get a word in edgewise. Quiet when I’m in the way back. Quiet when…oh, never mind. It’s true I didn’t say much of anything on highway 83. I set a precedent for the rest of the trip and I kinda liked it that way.
Anyway, back to Turtle Beach. We pulled into this nondescript, side of the road turnout. It wasn’t much to look at and I really wasn’t thinking of what we might see. All I knew was we had pulled over. We followed an equally nondescript path down to a beach. Looking into the water I could see a few black forms bobbing around. Getting closer I could see they were green sea turtles. Here I was, outside an aquarium, seeing green sea turtles ride the surf like corks. I was so fixated on them I didn’t even notice the 400lb female sleeping on the beach, just inches from where I stood. When I finally noticed her I tripped over myself trying to give her room, trying to give myself space.
How to describe this moment? There is something majestic about these prehistoric creatures. Yes, they are lumbering and ungraceful as they make their way up the sand, but put them in water and they are grace and beauty. They practically dance through the waves; glide along the currents. I felt a certain sadness sitting on the beach with them. A tour of Japanese chattered behind me. Cameras snapping and children shouting. While the turtles seemed unfazed by it all I wanted them to float away. Away from our pressing and staring and posing. Our celebration of them seemed excessive.
Maybe the next time I visit I will bring a sketchbook and pencils. Something a little more introspective. Drawing them might be a way of drawing me out.