While You Lay Sleeping

The black of night hung close.

Clouds saturated with moisture pressed into the sand as drenched cotton balls lying limp on a bathroom counter.

She dragged three hundred pounds out of the water and up unto the dune.

No light.

That’s why she came now.

No one. No thing to notice her. Or to hinder task that needed to be done.

She stretched her arms, dipped them into the soft sand and pulled. Reached and pulled her body away from the water.

She didn’t know why she came; she only knew how to come.

Push, press, flip. Move the shifting earth. Push, press deeper, slinging the sand behind her. She didn’t know why.

She only knew how.

Laboring away as determined as an old woman creating a space in her garden for an heirloom hydrangea.

Then came pressure, intense pressure.

One by one soft, leathery eggs dropped out of her down into the womb she had carved into the sand.

She didn’t know why.

She only knew press and relief. Press and relief.

Sixty minutes.

Her task complete.

Back flippers flung sand, covering the cradle.

She reached and pulled, dragging the weight of her body — so much heavier than in the water —

back to water.


*   *   *


While at the beach a few weekends ago, one morning we woke up to this right outside our window.

One trail in. One trail leading out.


The turtle guardians had already dutifully marked her nest.



Seeing her tracks through the sand. Her ingress and egress.

All done when I was fast asleep 50 yards away.

I was touched with a tinge of sadness. How could I have missed it?

Have you ever missed something spectacular right in front of you…while you lay sleeping?

*    *   *

This Saturday, June 23, is World Sea Turtle Day on the birthday of Archie Carr.

Professor Carr was a a zoology professor at the University of Florida who brought attention to the world’s declining sea turtle populations and is considered the father of sea turtle conservation and science.  Read more here

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

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20 responses to “While You Lay Sleeping”

  1. Christie says:

    Very interesting post. It is amazing all the miracles of nature that are going on around us.
    Christie recently posted..Awash In Twilight

  2. Kenja Purkey says:

    Neat post from the perspective of a sea turtle. Nature is pretty amazing.
    Kenja Purkey recently posted..Yo Ho Ho, A Bottle of Rum and a Baby Shower

  3. I really enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing!
    Dawn Beronilla recently posted..My Second-Hand Dad.

  4. This was spectacular.

  5. Carrie says:

    What a gorgeous piece of imagery. You describe the turtles plight so well!

    Loved it!
    Carrie recently posted..Welcome

  6. Kristin says:

    Loved this! I was lucky enough to witness a turtle laying eggs in Costa Rica. I felt like an intruder.

    Sometimes I think this whole GOTTA SEE IT culture of the human race is so barbaric. I know I felt that way during my births. Everyone else got to see what was going on – except me. 🙂
    Kristin recently posted..When It was Still Called Friendly

  7. carol says:

    I loved the description of giving “birth”. Reading it was like music from the ocean. I wasn’t sure it was a sea turtle until the very end. You write so well. I wanted to read more….

    I will be visiting often. And, you must live in a very beautiful place!
    carol recently posted..Be still… and listen

  8. Delilah says:

    Beautiful writing! I didn’t want it to end!

  9. Mayor Gia says:

    Beautiful writing – a very artistic take on what most people would just see as science/biology.
    Mayor Gia recently posted..The Futon of Death May Literally Be Trying to Kill Me

  10. Robbie says:

    you paint a magnificent picture with your words!
    Robbie recently posted..Ripped Away

  11. Joe says:

    Well said. Great to see that the nest was protected so quickly. Any plans to return for the hatching?
    Joe recently posted..Sleep Battles

  12. Julie says:

    I wonder if the turtle had any inkling of how hard people try to keep her young safe long enough to make it to the water?

    Bummed that you missed her trip inland though!

  13. You captured they beauty and strength of one of my favorite creatures. I was lucky enough to catch a mama turtle lumbering across the sands. Each time we go to the beach I point out the marked nests to my son, hoping he grasps an inkling of the magic occurring below the sand.

    Well done.
    Kerry Ann @Vinobaby’s Voice recently posted..Stray Cat Sucker Punch

  14. so.well.painted. i get this! we stay in vero beach in florida where mamas came right up against our condo to lay eggs while we were there, and on our trip every night we could see against the black ocean their forms coming up form the sea…i don’t think i’ve ever watched something more closely.
    tara pohlkotte recently posted..This Life His Hands Have Built

  15. I was in Pensacola Beach a few weeks ago, and my sister and I were reading this huge board in the hotel lobby about sea turtles. It was just amazing. Wonderfully written!
    Write, Rinse, Repeat recently posted..I Like My Kids, Not Yours

  16. I love this! The way you describe it from her perspective is so beautiful.
    Liz @ShiftlessMommie recently posted..It’s all about the Benjamins.

  17. love the images – there are hawksbill turtle preserves out here and i always wonder if they’re okay – and yet I don’t want to go out to the beach to see b/c I don’t want to get in their way!
    deborah l quinn recently posted..Monday-ish listicle: if I had a thousand dollars I would…

  18. 50Peach says:

    I love that it took me a few lines to figure it out… the imagery grabbed me and kept me reading. Well done!
    50Peach recently posted..A Higher Education

  19. Love it! I would’ve sat there until they hatched! I work at a marine mammal center and work with pennipeds. The ocean is just full of amazing life!

  20. Kristen says:

    That was beautiful… simply beautiful.
    Kristen recently posted..Cause We’ve Got our Own STYLE around these parts.



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