Turtle Crossing State Park Road


"Turtle Crossing State Park Road" is a 14" x 10" watercolor painting on paper, matted under glass with a brown wood frame measuring 20 inches by 16 inches. Wired and ready to hang.

My inspiration for this painting is the road I traveled many times when I lived near Wisconsin's Whitewater Lake. State Park Road winds through Kettle Moraine Forest. On this road are two trees that are intertwined as if holding each other up. My own story of Straddle the Turtle** also plays a part in this composition.

✒︎ Tybo’s Tall Tales*: This little turtle is crossing the road, this is because he lost a bet, and had to do the same race his cousin had to. The rabbit was a mile ahead, and the Turtle decided he would take a shortcut. The turtle's shortcut worked, his shell skimming the bottom of a car, unfortunately, the Rabbit was not so lucky. The turtle made it to the finish line, and had a nice, tasty bouquet of flowers and ferns waiting for him. He was raised above everyone's head, and for his great feat, he was named "straddle" for his quick-ish feet.

*My 15-year old grandson’s summer job was to stock my Etsy shop. One of his duties was to write about my artwork :)

**Straddle the Turtle:

One warm, Spring day I was running late for my yoga class in town. To make up time, I decided to drive a little faster than usual along a stretch of road that was clear of pedestrians and traffic. On the winding road leading out of the Kettle Moraine forest, I noticed a turtle slowly moving across the road in the left lane. I had no problem driving past her. But further along, where I was able to pick up more speed, I saw another turtle crossing from the right side of the road. I made a calculated decision to straddle her between the wheels of my Jeep. After I passed over her and for the rest of my ride into town, I kept thinking, “I straddled the turtle… I straddled the turtle… I straddled that turtle!” I made it to my class in time, but I had trouble focusing as I thought of the harm I could have caused that fertile turtle. I also admitted a truth to myself - I have a chronic habit of trying to do way too much in too little time.

I related this incident to my good friend, Karen, who knows about the symbolism of turtles. She shared that since ancient times the turtle has represented ‘being grounded’. It is believed that the turtle unites and balances heaven and earth – it’s upper shell being heaven and the body being mother earth. Karen suggested that I might consider this a ‘message’ - to think about going into my shell, do what I need to do, come out when I’m ready, and pay attention to a more natural and slower rhythm – an unhurried one. Pondering her counsel caused me to focus anew on the straddling of that turtle. When I mentioned this to my husband, Bob, he immediately conjured up a vision of me sitting atop the turtle, holding reigns (like straddling a horse). The image of riding a slow moving turtle should remind me to slow down, he thought. So true!

Instead of speeding past the moments, hours, and days of my life, I need to commit to slowing down. In other words, to “straddle the turtle.”

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