Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Elaine's journey continued:

Some indigenous people refer to Mother Earth as a giant turtle..we as humans ride on Turtle's back..Turtle teaches us to harmonize the energies in our lives bringing us balance. Turtle is one of the oldest symbols for our planet, and holds very sacred energy.


For my mom, however, turtles=danger...

Every summer, my children and I made our annual pilgrimage to visit my parents on the Seine River in NW Ontario. Long summer days were filled with fishing, exploring, rowing, berry picking, and culinary experiments, along with numerous Art, Biology and Geology lessons.

(Dove Tail Lake off Sunshine Road)

My dad was the primary fish cleaner and he often rewarded the otters and turtles, with whom they shared Seine River, by leaving the fish entrails for them to eat. The stomach portion of a walleye is white in colour and this fact will later become critical to the story.
(river otter tracks)

As the sun worked higher in the sky, we generally retreated to the water to cool off. My mother, Elaine, came out of the cabins, down to the shoreline to save us all from the "turtle terror" which awaited in the murky waters off the end of the dock. She claimed to have seen a giant size snapping turtle in the bay earlier that morning.

As a Biologist I assured her..Mom, the kids are fine, the last time I checked turtles are not known for attacking small children.

She quickly remembered an important turtle factoid, and told me..Well once on Rainy Lake, there was a huge snapping turtle sunning itself on the end of the dock and I stuck a broom handle out there...the turtle held on and wouldn't let go until it snapped the broom handle in half..then she went on to say that a turtle didn't care if it snapped a broom handle or a bone..like she had some special insight into the workings of the reptilian brain.

My counter..Well Mom, I'm just thinking, but if you stuck a broom handle in MY face, I'd probably do the same thing as the turtle.

She insisted that the evil turtle would bite one of the children and that swimming was no longer a safe activity.
I challenged her by asking..Mom, do you honestly know even ONE person who has suffered a turtle attack? If you do, I will get the kids out of the water now.

She stomped off to the cabins..

The afternoon was uneventful..no turtle terror ensued...

(Fishing with Dad on Seine River)

Imagine my surprise when a month later, I received a letter from my parents along with a photograph. The photo showed a person's leg, dripping with blood and an obvious triangular shape bite mark on the calf..AND it was my mother's leg.
In the letter she went on to describe how she had gone wading off the shore and how the turtle had grabbed her leg..and it said NOW I know a person who has been attacked by a turtle..ME
At the end of the letter was Dad's printed PS which read: The turtle bit your mom's leg because she is so pale, and the poor turtle thought she was fish guts.

The lesson of this story..we create our own realities..if you believe that a turtle will bite your leg, and you imagine such a scenario..it will happen..you send that energy out into the Universe and it responds appropriately. Fearful energy holds us back from enjoying our lives..

I love you mom, but to this day you REMAIN the only person I know who has been bitten by a turtle..

(Dad, Mom and Jamal..family traditions)


  1. I was bitten by a turtle, but I think I brought it on myself. I was fishing with my granddad when I was about 9. I tossed in my line and watched the bobber when suddenly it sank way down and and stayed there. I pulled with all 9 year old girl might. After much struggle, I managed to get my line out of the water. You can't image how disappointed I was to find a turtle on the end of my line; I was sure I had caught the biggest fish in my granddad's pond. I put the pole down and worked my fingers down the line to free my disappointing catch, when suddenly the fiesty thing decided to have lunch on me. In all of my nine years I had never seen a turtle bite and I was a country girl who had played with many a turtle. One loud scream from me and my granddad was there in a flash. He took out his pocket knife and cut the turtle's head right off. But the whole time he was cutting I was measuring just how far down that turtle's neck he was cutting and thinking about just how long my finger was! It wasn't a very good fishing experience for that turtle, was it?

    1. my mom would have been THRILLED to hear this..lol

      thanks for sharing your story

  2. Oh wow - what a cool story, but your poor Mom! Our first dog, Lobo, got bit by a snapping turtle but Lobo was trying to bite him too :>)

  3. I love this post!
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.