Trust Like a Turtle

Trust Like a Turtle

by Laura Rose

This early morning the sun comes
tumbling over the mountain with hands of life,
ready to stain everything mellow
and full of ridiculous hope.
All I need do
is wake up and sit
long enough in the yawning breeze
to hear the wind turn
over the weight of water below.

This wet world supports the turtles’ gentle moves
in their unquestioning
search for food.

I want their ease, that assumption of abundance
and suddenly think, it’s not such a surprise
God asks me to trust him,
but that he asks.

I hear them before I see their roundness go ‘plop-plop’
sharp beak first into the water.
The watchful one swims off to tell others:
She’s back!
Sitting on the redwood trunk over the lake,
staring, what for?

Don’t go, I call.
I’m only looking for the reason
you sit for hours in the motionless
work of waiting.

Why did Jesus say to work
for bread that won’t fail
and that he is this bread?
Is faith in him motionless,
without effort?

The turtles have regrouped
in twos or threes among willows
standing in the bath-warm shallows.
I might think it’s easy being a turtle,
but I see them dive and rise, nibbling

or crawling with hilarious force
up a sandy edge to bask.

It doesn’t just happen;
they need to climb.

But they’ve been given steady legs
and determination
to be filled with flaming sun.
How do I work on faith in one
whose abundance is endless?
I can see ends everywhere.

Clouds move in now
and chill taps my shoulder.
A bigger turtle nudges a small one
and together they drift into a yellow ray
striking still water.

I almost envy them…
they know nothing of war
or stocks or the price of eggs.

They know the water is there
all around them,
floating their shell-heavy bodies
like slow motion dancers.
When shadows come,
they simply focus on finding
the next living stream of light.

From their world I can take nothing home
but this:
that sweet work of trust
like a turtle.