Today’s theme is wisdom. We often associate wisdom with age, contemplation, quiet, and slowing down. Because of this, turtles are often used as a symbol of wisdom due to their long life spans, wrinkly skin, slow gait and general lack of chattering. But I like to think that sea turtles are wise because they leave their heavily weighted concerns on land and fling themselves into the sea to become nimble and free. Well, that, and to catch dinner.
Finally, here is an eternal bit of wisdom about turtles:
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s tortoises all the way down!”
—Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1988
Image by Sophie Lagacé 2013, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0. Based on a photo by Philippe Guillaume, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.