Peeling Off My Shell

On my morning bike ride I came upon a small gopher tortoise, about the size of my palm, in the middle of the road.  Its tiny smooth shell glistened in contrast to the hot, steamy blacktop paving. I continued on my path, not wanting to disturb the natural order of things. But on my way back, when I saw it still sitting there, I picked it up and put it gingerly into my bike satchel.5039503186_40ed3eb6bc

Arriving home, my first response was of course to keep it inside for a pet, but my ‘adult thinking’ realized that the backyard was the best spot for my new found friend. The perfect spot to set it down was under the Myrtle Tree amongst the Wandering Jew. Cozy and full of leaves, sandy soil, and insects, it settled into its safe haven.

I was intrigued that the turtle had presented itself to me, so I did a little research on Animal Spirit Guides. The results were very apropos. The turtle carries its shell as protective armor. The message I received was to shed this layer and let my confidence and true self shine. Since my astrology sign is Cancer and the crab also wears this protective outer coating, I truly felt this was something I needed to take to heart.  I am a shy person, and peeling off layers of guardedness is a challenge.

As it so happened, I was preparing to conduct a workshop to my faculty to kick off the school year and I was feeling quite apprehensive.  Speaking in front of forty- some people is not easy for most people. Normally, I would have been petrified, if not for the tortoise. In my mind, I kept thinking of his message- take off the shell, reveal yourself, you can do it, don’t be afraid.


I spoke slowly, with ease. I remembered what I wanted to say and I actually enjoyed myself- just a little bit. Sometimes all we need is just a little nudge…a little inspiration. Nature is our greatest teacher.



Amy enjoys using poetic language to capture the essence of the ordinary. Her work has been published in Word-Dancers: The Poets of Southwest Florida and Florida Weekly.

(4) Comments

  • Kathy
    August 27, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Awww how cute! That’s great you found an opportunity to apply your new found knowledge. Yes, even turtles stick their neck out!

    • Amy
      August 27, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      That’s true!! Love it!!

  • Laura
    August 27, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Amy I love your story and what perfect timing for me! I’m speaking to a group tomorrow morning and will definitely use this to help me relax and enjoy!

    • Amy
      August 27, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      You can do it! Enjoy yourself and peel your shell! XO

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