Header Challenge: Below Water Level
Turtle: The Incredible Journey should be required viewing for anybody who plans to spend any time at all on the beach this summer.
It is the story of a loggerhead turtle who hatches on a Florida beach; makes it past countless hungry predators and into the Atlantic; and swims to maturity following the Gulf Stream and other currents that take her along the edge of the ocean and home again, two decades later, to lay eggs and continue the 12-million-year-old turtle cycle of life.
(If you are a vacationer with a $150 sun shelter from Wal-Mart that you plan to leave on the beach for the duration of your stay, come on down and see just how in the way you are.)
Thanks to whatever technology and cameras SeaWorld and company used to make the 80-minute movie, we travel with the turtle, surviving in the sargassum until a freight ship comes along to destroy it, pukes oil onto the water, generally makes a life-threatening disaster of things, and leaves the turtle to her own devices.
The turtle's eary life runs an obstacle course of natural and human-made threats that had us on the edge of our seats and looking away with shame. The journey around the Atlantic is not without its Shangri-La moments, though. Life in the Azores and the Caribbean are a Disney cruise for the loggerhead after the struggles she has faced. In the Caribbean, she finds her mate, and then off she goes to the Florida beach that was once her mother's maternity ward to lay her own eggs and move on.
Life goes on mysteriously and beautifully and despite every obstacle humanity puts in the way.
According to this documentary narrated by Miranda Richardson, turtles have been around for 200 million years. They fled the earth when the dinosaurs came along, adapted to the seas, and eventually outlived the big, weird reptiles. They continue to evolve because ancestral memory and a highly sensitive understanding of the ways of the natural world drive them forward.
We can't say the same for ourselves. May we behave that the turtles might remember us well in the history of the world.
Please watch this excellent movie.
If you're on a beach this summer, take your toys inside, fill any holes you dig, knock your castles, douse the lights, and keep those beautiful and ancient reptiles in your kind thoughts. They will be here when we are long gone, and no doubt.