There he was. He was on the path. And he met me there.
I was just walking into the woods, anxious to lose myself. It’s the best thing to do for myself. Lose myself, and then find myself again.
As I was heading into the woods, turtle was in the middle of the path, looking up at me, heading my way in his slow and deliberate manner.
What a delight! In my exuberance to meet a friend, I sat down in front of him and exclaimed my gratitude to meet him face to face. This was a living turtle complete with shell and old wrinkly face.
My energy was large and excited and I sent him quickly into his shell.
Just as quickly I realized my error and quieted down. In a soft, soothing voice I called to him. I introduced myself to him. I regaled him with stories of why I was so happy to make his acquaintance.
I pulled my turtle pendant out from behind my shirt. It hung on a beaded necklace and was a gift newly acquired from a special friend. Like a child I held up my new turtle necklace. I wanted to show my turtle friend what we had in common.
Slowly his shell began to open and like a garage door slowly lifting, his face began to appear out from the shadows of his insular home.
I showed turtle my turtle.
He stretched his long neck and his head seemed to be reaching up to speak directly to me, and to look at my turtle.
As expected, his wisdom that he began to share with me reiterated some of my own thoughts. In a calm and relaxed manner he spoke to me. He reminded me to accept my home is where I am in the moment. He encouraged me to slow down and enjoy the journey. And he let me know things would come to pass, the things that my heart longed for, but that I could not rush things…he encouraged me to be more patient…
Our conversation was abruptly shattered by the sound of whirring bicycle tires.
I stood up and looked down at my friend. He was in the middle of the path, right around a sharp corner and I feared the bicyclists would not see him in time to avoid him.
Quickly I scooped him up and placed him safely in the grasses and leaves at the side of the path. The bicycles whizzed past without noticing us.
I looked down at my heavy friend. I was amazed by the weight he was carrying.
I sat down in the grass and looked at my closed up friend. The sudden shift had caused him to retreat again.
I tried to use my most coaxing voice once again to lure him out. But this time I heard a voice say to me, “It is time for you to go within your own shell. When you are centered you may come back and speak with Turtle once more.”
I understood and knew I had just begun my walk into nature. I needed to go much farther in to find a place a part from others.
I was on break from touring and teaching and I had stopped by one of my favorite trails to unwind. Back in the Kansas City area, I was spending time with my daughters mid-tour, before heading back west to finish what I had started.
It had already been a long tour, from Seattle to Denver. A quick reprieve in Kansas City, and now I was preparing to make the drive back to Denver, then to Durango, then Santa Fe, and then back to Kansas City before my youngest daughter’s ninth birthday.
It was so good to be with my children again, I was wishing I could cancel the rest of my tour. As I walked and asked for guidance I considered my life on the road. Many people were offering places to stay, and wonderful food. I was feeling loved and supported by so many people.
Yet as always, I was longing for a home. A permanent home. But I knew that when ever I find a place, I tend to hide myself away. When I am on the road, I allow myself to be seen, and heard, and share the gifts that I have.
I went on down the path a ways and found my own space. I sat and sat and sat. When I was finished, I remembered my turtle friend and headed back to find him.
When I arrived at the place where I had set him, next to the trail, he wasn’t there. I chuckled at how fast he had moved, and looked around nearby, then farther and farther down the trail I searched. I could not find him. I wondered how far he had gotten in the time I was sitting, and then I wondered how long I had been gone.
With no concern for real time, I walked on wishing I had the wisdom of turtle to speak to. Many thoughts were streaming through me, and I was still feeling some sort of inability to accept the current reality of my life. I knew Turtle would know what to tell me, and I wondered why spirit was denying me this good advice.
As I came around the final corner of woods and privacy, I saw up ahead the parking lot and people. Directly in front of me on the trail was a couple that caught my attention. They had a stroller in front of them, and they were moving at a particularly slow pace. The man was very tall, with strong wide shoulders, and dark skin. He was moving with a very slow and deliberate gait.
The woman by his side was petite and blonde with pale skin. She seemed to be controlling her energy, and was taking small controlled steps. Her energy seemed to say she could take off like a wild hare if given the chance.
His pace reminded me of the turtle. I was intrigued by the opposite nature of these two people, together, each with a hand on the stroller in front of them. I looked forward to peeking into the carriage to see the beautiful child that was a part of each of them.
As I approached the man turned to look at me passing. He noticed the turtle pendant on my beaded necklace that was still hanging outside my shirt. He looked at my turtle and then nodded to me.
“I like your turtle,” he said in a low tone. I could tell by the way he looked at me and the tone of his voice, that he understood Turtle, and was making an open ended comment.
I slowed down by their side and thanked him. The man stopped walking and looked at me. He was waiting for me to say something more.
“I saw a turtle a bit ago, and was looking for him on my way back, but I haven’t found him yet…” I smiled waiting to see if that was enough to begin and looked towards the baby in the stroller.
The gentleman pulled three or four necklaces out from behind his shirt. All of them had turtle pendants on them. Some had many turtles hanging from one chain while others had turtles at the end of a beaded necklace similar to mine.
I stopped completely now and looked up at him. He was a very tall man with a strong presence.
He put out his hand to meet me and introduced himself, “Painted Turtle,” he said.
“Cat RunningElk,” I said shaking his hand.
He sat down on a nearby bench and after I played with their beautiful baby for sometime, his wife whisked her off somewhere, so Painted Turtle and I could talk. I noticed the small woman moved very quickly, she disappeared in a heartbeat. She seemed to know Painted Turtle and I needed to talk.
He stretched his arms wide on the bench and then he carefully stretched his long legs out in front of him. As he relaxed I knew that we would have all the time we needed to talk of turtle, and life, and other things.
I made myself comfortable on the ground in front of him.
He pulled some tobacco out of a pouch and took my hand, opened it and poured the tobacco into the center of my palm.
“When you meet a true medicine person, you always show that you recognize them and honor them with tobacco.”
“Yes, thank you.” I said looking shyly down at the tobacco.
Then he placed some other special blend of herbs in my other hand. I thanked him and gave him a special feather I was carrying.
“I was home when Spirit told me I had to get over here,” he said motioning to a house down the road and I saw he had walked quite a distance.
“I was told there was someone I needed to meet.”
He kept looking around me and just beyond my physical body as he talked.
“I had to hurry, as I can’t walk very fast these days, ” he said rubbing the knee of one of his legs.
“But I knew I had to get here before whoever it was I needed to meet,” he talked slow and smooth and smiled up at me now as he continued,”When I got on the path, I felt your presence behind me, and I knew I had made it in time.”
I listened and smiled back, knowing I had found my turtle friend again.
“I could feel you when you were a long way away. You have a strong presence,” as he spoke of me again I turned my attention back to the ground, “I knew you were looking for me, that you needed to talk.” At this I looked up to see him smiling broadly.
“You have magic with you. It follows you everywhere you go. You know that, don’t you?” He waited to see my expression.
I thought of what others often said about me. And I thought how confusing it was, how like an illusion what others seemed to see in me.
He listened to my thoughts then replied, “Yes, you have powerful magic, but you don’t see it. It’s like the red bird that follows you. Have you seen this bird that follows you?” He motioned over my right shoulder.
I quickly turned my head around and saw a flash of red as the bird took off.
“Yes, just like that. When you try to see it, it disappears. It’s better that way. Others see it, and you just need to know it’s there. Don’t look for it, Cat. When you do, it flies away.”
I had been seeing the red bird out of the corner of my eye for sometime. It was there in my morning circles, or just outside, always flying off when I turned to look in its direction. I looked all around me now and Painted Turtle did as well.
“The magic will always be there for you. Don’t worry, it just goes with you. You don’t have to do anything about it, or with it. It just shows up for you.”
I nodded. That was how it worked. “Just show up,” was what my guides were always telling me. When I tried to plan a class or event, they would stop me, “Just show up, Cat.” No notes, no thoughts, just show up. When I would show up, the magic would happen.
“And I see you are having trouble accepting some situations in your life…your heart is hurting…I can’t even look in your eyes. I feel the pain…”
Oh, darn. He’s seeing that stuff. Sometimes hanging out with other seers, psychics and sensitives makes it hard to hide your personal baggage. He was seeing the part of me that was not happy with my present circumstances.
“Sometimes you try to use your powers to make things happen. I see you standing in the center, with four doors around you, one for each direction. Each of these doors is closed right now. It’s just the way it has to be for now.”
I looked at the ground. I didn’t want to acknowledge this part of life, the part of life that felt closed off to me.
“You take this big staff you carry; do you know the one I mean?” He held my gaze as I was shocked by what he was seeing.
“Yes, I know the one you mean…” I looked up at him feeling a bit annoyed with how much of my personal spiritual life he was seeing.
“Well, I see you taking this staff and banging it on the ground, like a child trying to get her way. You try to use the magic you have to make the doors open. But instead the power you have sends out a wave that bounces off the closed doors and ends up rattling you even more. A lot of the uncomfortable feelings you are having right now you are creating, because you are not allowing things to unfold as they need to. You need to be still and accept how things are, then they will change and in time the doors will open…magically.”
He looked quite proud of his dissection of my stubbornness, my pride and my attempts to make things happen my way. I knew he was right, but I acted aloof for a moment, and tried not to let him know how right he was.
I sat with it a bit and then let out a sigh of acceptance.
“You have work to do. You have to go, and this is hard for you sometimes. In time all the doors will open…be patient.”
I looked up at my Turtle friend and thought about my patience, or lack of patience. Then anxiously, lest he should dive deeper into my heart, I turned the table. I allowed messages to come for him, and he opened up to me about his near death accident the previous year, about his work to heal his body, about the slow movement due to the pain. He talked of his partner, their baby, and much more.
And she returned from out of nowhere with the little one as we finished. She was like the magic white rabbit, popping in at the perfect moment.
Quite some time had passed, and we exchanged hugs and warm appreciation for how Spirit works, and how we always are brought to the ones we need to see at the right and perfect moment.
The next day I packed my things and said good bye to my children. After a few tears from my little one, I was on my way.
Down the road a ways my own tears began to fall. I didn’t feel motivated. I didn’t feel like making a difference in anyone else’s life. I was feeling sad that I had to drive so far to see some people. I felt deprived of a different way of life. I felt cheated out of a more normal existence, relationship and a regular home.
I tried to think about the magic that is with me. I felt the presence of the red bird and knew it was just out of my sight. I wanted to see it. I wanted to use it, to make my life how I wanted it to be.
Then I considered all that Painted Turtle had told me. I was trying to pound down some doors that needed to remain closed for now.
I needed to slow down. I looked at the speedometer and I didn’t care how fast I was going. Wanting to get the job done, and go home, I put the pedal to the medal, as if getting there sooner would make any difference.
Up ahead there was a black curtain across the horizon. A perfectly blue sky turned dark and the temperature dropped twenty degrees in a matter of seconds. I embraced the storm and flew into it.
The hail was large and I had to turn up the radio to hear the music. Cars were pulling over and the truckers all had their flashers on. My devil may care attitude kept me driving swiftly through the storm. Still feeling impatient with Spirit giving me these callings, I challenged Spirit to guide me swiftly through the pounding rain, the hail and the gusts of wind. I felt protected, and knew Spirit would not let me drive off the road.
I pulled out to pass a slowed down vehicle, and right in front of me in the fast lane was turtle. Suddenly, in order to save his life, I had to slow down. On a wet highway, with hail and lightning and trucks all around, I swerved, and managed to go around the turtle, and remained solidly on the road.
Looking in my rear view mirror I said a prayer for my friend. I prayed in earnest that he would survive. I prayed that he would make it safely to the other side.
I saw the turtle, and I saw the truck behind me also manage to miss hitting him.
Slowing down I passed carefully out the other side of the storm, with my spirits suddenly buoyed.
“Thank you to Turtle. Thank you. I am willing to let things happen as they may. The doors will open, or they will remain closed. It doesn’t matter. The journey is mine, and I will enjoy it today.”
The storm ended as fast as it came. The sun broke out and up ahead loomed the magnificent Front Range. A rainbow appeared and I smiled. Looking forward to what was in front of me, I felt the Rockies beckon me home.
Present in the moment, appreciative of the magic that is a part of my life, I smiled. My heart was grateful for the turtle, all the turtles that had showed up in my life. I was grateful for the turtle necklace, for the turtle on my path, for Painted Turtle and his wisdom and finally, the turtle on the highway.
If I could slow down and enjoy the journey, accepting home is where I am, and allow the magic to happen, it would all be all right….
I relaxed a bit more behind the wheel as the storm drifted farther and farther behind me. Looking ahead I saw the Rockies and gave thanks that for the next few weeks, they would be my home.
I touched the turtle around my neck and smiled.
In time the doors would open.
I would trust the journey as I was learning to trust that the magic is always there, even when we can’t see it, it’s always there.
The magic of my life means the turtle makes it across the path, down the road and across the highway. The magic seems to be unseen, until we consider the hand that lifted it from danger, the wife and stroller that helped ease his pain and the trucker that managed to avoid it.
The magic is around, and it is with us, and it will open the doors that need to be opened, if we let it.
In time, all in good time…