April 26th, My Turtles

by Katie Gough ’23

Right now, I am typing this into my notes app while I’m sitting on a concrete ledge next to a small pond in the park near my house. I couldn’t tell you how many books I’ve finished, decisions I’ve made, songs I heard for the first time- all sitting right here by myself on this ledge in this park.

With nothing else to do, I think I came here almost every single day during the height of quarantine. In all my time spent here, I learned that there are two enormous snapping turtles in the pond that are so old they have moss growing on their heads that looks like hair.

I named them Gatsby and Daisy because that’s what I was reading at the time. I don’t see them right now. They only came out of hibernation a few weeks ago and since then I’ve only seen them in the larger pond all the way on the other side of the park. Maybe when this song ends I’ll get up and walk over to them, but right now I am sitting on my ledge watching algae float along the dark green surface of their old pond. Maybe they decided it was too small or maybe they wanted a change of scenery. Either way, it makes me kind of sad that the turtles left the place I came to think of as their home.

Someone told me once that the important things in life don’t change: your family, your true friends, the things you really love- that’s all gonna stay the same. It’s hard to focus on all the important things, though, when every single other thing feels like it’s going to change next year.

But I think in all the stress over that great unknown, we forget all the smaller things that will still be there. The way the world looks from a car on the highway with the windows down blasting music- that won’t change. How the sun touches the trees at 7pm and how lemonade tastes in Summer and the joy in watching your friends get everything they want. And the feelings. Every single one of them. Those won’t change.

My turtles moved but they’re still here. And after June 9th we’re still gonna be the same people in the same complicated and beautiful world- just in slightly different places.