Cosmic Turtles, Part Five

In Virginia during the sixties and seventies, with a little concentrated looking, I could consort with eastern mud turtles, spotted turtles, elegant eastern painted turtles, snapping turtles, eastern box turtles, and even, I believe, although we lived rather east of its range as depicted in Petersen’s Eastern Reptiles and Amphibians, the occasional Terrapina ornata, the ornate box turtle. Continue reading “Cosmic Turtles, Part Five”


Cosmic Turtles, Part Two

Beside serving as the foundation of the world, Turtle surfaces in folk literature as the trickster’s trickster. It may surprise some to learn that Turtle has the smarts necessary to get the best of flimflammers like Jackal and even Anansi, the trickster spider, but then surprise is part of the strategy. Continue reading “Cosmic Turtles, Part Two”

Cosmic Turtles, Part One

This is the first installment of a five-part post.

Always it’s the same: the woods are leaf-fatted, midsummer.   Low-growing Mayapple and ginseng creep among roots of massive white oaks whose limbs form their own green-clouded groves.   Ferns half my height unroll from fiddleheads.   Fiddleheads, with their scrolled fronds, put me in mind of unborn things €”pale, web-footed, half-creatures in dark, damp places, curling over upon themselves. All around lies the litter of conversion, of life changing over to death, changing to seedbed, to mushroom clusters, to a pink shock of Lady’s-slipper orchid against decadent leaves. Continue reading “Cosmic Turtles, Part One”