01 May 2009

Tortoise or Hare?

petrus christus~ flemish master(1410-1472)

I am a self described Tortoise.

I admit it.
Slow and Steady.
Grounded, but with head in the clouds. Eastern mythology tells us the turtle's magic united heaven and earth-a creation of nature carrying its round shell over the ground-the Heavens, and underneath-flat-the Earth.

Hard shell (Well?)

Soft on the inside (Well?)

I even have a bit of a collection to prove it. Here are a few favorites for one or another reasons.

the Turtle shell on the stand is a Guatemalan turtle I named Mariela- after my Guatemalan housekeeper who gifted it to me.
Her name was Mariela too.
I was so touched that she had noticed-Well I guess she noticed or maybe...
I was just so slow it reminded her of me. I didn't ask- It might have spoiled everything.

Another very nice tortoise

I have some Tortoises that reside in the yarden. One you must see at some point is quite huge- taking two yardeners to just get it to budge. Purchased from a designer's estate sale- it is supposedly a Japanese Tortoise. The designer's mother was Japanese and the turtle was too. He has only moved three times to my knowledge- from the estate sale to my Garden and then to my yarden. I've moved twice- So the Japanese Tortoise came with me- But...

He was so slow-
He needed help, two yardeners had to move him- as I said.

Some of these outdoor turtles have lost their heads- I prefer to think that the said Head is safely inside the shell...

Some of my turtles are on little sheets of paper...

here are a few of them.

Since we know the fable by heart- here is the French poem adapted from Aesop by La Fontaine~

Le Lièvre et la Tortue

Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point :
Le lièvre et la tortue en sont un témoignage.

« Gageons, dit celle-ci, que vous n’atteindrez point
Sitôt que moi ce but. ─ Sitôt ? êtes vous sage ?
Repartit l’animal léger.
Ma commère, il vous faut purger
Avec quatre grains d’ellébore.
─ Sage ou non, je parie encore. »
Ainsi fut fait ; et de tous deux
On mit près du but les enjeux.
Savoir quoi, ce n’est pas l’affaire,
Ni de quel juge l’on convint.
Notre Lièvre n’avait que quatre pas à faire ;
J’entends de ceux qu’il fait lorsque, prêt d’être atteint,
Il s’éloigne des chiens, les renvoie aux calendes,
Et leur fait arpenter les landes.
Ayant, dis-je, du temps de reste pour brouter,
Pour dormir, et pour écouter
D’où vient le vent, il laisse la tortue
Aller son train de sénateur.
Elle part, elle s’évertue ;
Elle se hâte avec lenteur.
Lui cependant méprise une telle victoire,
Tient la gageure à peu de gloire,
Croit qu’il y va de son honneur
De partir tard. Il broute, il se repose ;
Il s’amuse à toute autre chose
Qu’à la gageure. À la fin quand il vit
Que l’autre touchait presque au bout de la carrière,
Il partit comme un trait ; mais les élans qu’il fit
Furent vains : la tortue arriva la première.

« Eh bien, lui cria-t-elle, avais-je pas raison ?
De quoi vous sert votre vitesse ?
Moi l’emporter ! et que serait-ce
Si vous portiez une maison ? »

Jean de La Fontaine,Livre VI.

which are you?

illustration from Arthur Rackham of Aesop's fable the Tortoise & the Hare

more paper tortoises...

let me just say as a Tortoise...

I know and love Hares. They are everywhere.

I admit- I am attracted to Hares.

Some of my dearest friends are Hares.

I once dated a German (well ) Tortoise-Hare. does that tell you something?

and a Russian Tortoise...

when walking one very cold evening- he asked me- A Tortoise-to slow down!

As a family we inbred-my father was a Hare, Mother a Tortoise...

Though my brother earned the nickname Pooka, you know- Harvey?, he is very much a Tortoise. He is father to a Tortoise and a Hare.

My brother KC takes after my father- all Hare. all the time.

I've never had ONE Hare rant or humiliate me about my state of existence, never had a Hare harm a hair on my head...

We get along beautifully- We have evolved since the feudal days of our ancestors.

Tortoises DO live a Long time you know...

I sometimes do have to tell one of my particularly Lovely Long Legged Hares to slow it down a bit. I am sure a grimace emanates from one OR both of our faces...

But we end up pretty much together at the end of the day-usually sharing a glass of wine- or I sometimes watch my Hare sip hers...

I'm just happy she's sitting still.

As I said- I love Hares and I will NEVER be heard to say...

Slow and Steady wins the Race.

and Yes, half the fun is getting there.


  1. A toast to my favorite tortoise.
    Love, the long legged hare
    Now I must be off!

  2. love this!!! I'm a tortoise - no doubt about that.

    thanks for the comment - I had to laugh. I take down these cute blue and white stripe slipcovers, put the junk the closet, put a cute rug down, and it doesn't look half bad!!!!



Related Posts with Thumbnails