Who’s Counting Anyway?

comments 18

When Hafiz
had invited me over
for a treatment,
I guess in my excitement
I had imagined
a gamut of therapeutic practices
slightly more sporting
in scope and dexterity
than what he’d ultimately

Because after
sitting on lounge chairs
all day under the shade canopy,
sipping iced teas to stay alert,
and listening to him
chuckle whenever a caravan of clouds
sauntered past the revealing sun,
or mumble an appreciative syllable
when the wind changed direction
and the butterflies zig-zagged
every which-ways momentarily
like beings freshly zapped by wonderment,
and all the while reconnoitering
the digital comings and goings
of inscrutable turtle faces
from a contingent of shells
spread along a log in the pond
by order of increasing diameter,
like a Pythagorean display of keratin,
wondering if some sort of Planckian Code
wasn’t in the offing, or if we weren’t seeing
in the appearance and disappearance
of the turtle-faced keys
some pantomimed rendition of a Miles Davis’
trumpet solo in painstakingly slow motion–
the whole nine yards of which
ultimately boiled right down
to watching the grass grow–
I was by the end understandably confused
about where it was all going.

When’s it gonna’ kick in, Hafiz?

It should be already, he said,
mildly surprised.
Maybe you’re just not sure
what you’re looking at.
Try this:
pretend we’re turtles,
and all of existence our shell.
Every time… every place…
Realize it is all
a most intimate form
of protection.

For a delicious instant, I vanished.

But then I came back fairly quickly
because I couldn’t help myself.
Because I had swallowed an inconsistency
without realizing it–
(Full disclosure?
Hafiz is very tricky sometimes
vis-á-vis the fine print)–
and I was afraid it might
actually stay alive and
grow inside of me like
an apple seed and become a tree
whose branches would snake
through my organs while I slept
at night and then one day
stick out between my ribs
and require a most difficult surgery
from which I might never recover.
So I had to ask.
But Hafiz,
how could two turtles
share the same shell?

He thought about this for a moment.
Did I say there were only two?


  1. You brought tears to my eyes!! I hobbled out my front door leaning on a crutch and was met by the most beautiful zebra butterfly who flew around me as if to say, “Yes…welcome back to your life!” The trek to my pool was perhaps a bit ambitious. But as I got settled onto a lounge chair, the same one I occupied before my surgery, I was urged to look at my phone. And there you were. And as I read this post with such love in my heart I was reminded of the visitor I had the last time I was in this chair. It was a turtle who had lost his way. I heard something rather large rustling in the bushes…took a peek and didn’t see anything. But this is Florida, and of course an alligator comes to mind 🙂 Then a clang on the fence evoked a scream and the closet simulation of jumping out of a chair I could attempt! I looked around at the five or so people sunbathing and not a one was looking at me…phew!! 😉 Then I had a little chat with my friend as I reached for my phone. He felt like a very special visitor, indeed, and in that moment I was comforted. To read this post now just warms my heart in ways I find impossible to describe with words, so I will infuse this with energy that will speak it for me!

    Thank you, Michael. Namaste ♡

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Lorrie,

      Glad to know you are already up and at ’em! Wishing you a speedy and thorough recovery. And a butterfly welcome home party, too… Perfect!

      I am delighted to have provoked a few good feelings on your end, and I think in Florida leaping for on top of structures at least 4′ tall when the fence is bouncing around unexpectedly is probably not a bad move at all. I had a soccer coach once who was an aspiring actor, and he brought me to the set of this horror movie he was in once. It involved a scene with a loose alligator resting in a dog house. They had some gator wranglers on the scene, and at one point the gator took off and ran a few yards. Everyone was jumping up on top of trucks and light stands and picnic tables. And this one poor guy was jumping on its back with a roll of duct tape to clamp it’s mouth shut again… I’ve never in fact, ever witnessed any other response to alligator movement, so screaming and jumping seems precisely right… 🙂

      Sounds like you have had some beloved friends drop by both before and after the surgery… Isn’t life astounding!?



      • Life IS astounding, Michael! And thanks for the story that eased my self reproach to ‘screaming like a little girl” and jumping away from the fence 🙂 What a great memory you have of attending the movie shoot. I have watched “Gator Boys” on television and they make it look really easy “catching” rogue gators. Silly me, I have thought, “I can do that!” NOOOOOT!! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great punch line Michael; we seldom see the limits of our mind’s reach. Time, I think, for me to thank all who visit here for their collective sanctuaries, to “realize it is all
    a most intimate form of protection.”
    ❤ ➡ to all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Hariod. You have caught my drift quite nicely… It is all so much more than we once gave it credit for being, one another included…


      Liked by 1 person

  3. I followed a link from Lorrie’s place to yours only to discover we were under the same shell all along!

    What a delightful journey of words and imagery and playful reconnoitering of what your first commenter calls — Tantric turtle tutoring.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Louise,

      Thanks for your visit and the kind comment. It’s good to meet the people with whom you’ll be sharing an eternity… 🙂

      Blessings to you also-


    • Harlon,

      I can’t tell you how long I fussed over ways of describing the butterflies. It took the better part of an hour. I’m grateful you pulled on the thread. Hope it was a delightful afternoon in the garden, my friend.

      Much Love

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Surrender — The Ultimate Un-guide. Release. Let go. Breathe. | Dare boldly

  5. That’s it. I’m getting a new mat for the front door. “Welcome to my shell. Nevermind, it’s your shell. Ah, but come inside anyway. Wait, you’re already in, even when you’re out.”
    Perhaps a bit verbose…

    I love that you have made Life the therapy, Life the protection, Life the apple seed. I once wrote, last Halloween I think, of daring to bite the apple.

    Well, we’ve done it I think. If you start growing branches through your ribs I shall prune you.

    Ribs and apples and trees, I sense a theme here. You may have just flipped Eden upside down…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I love your enthusiasm, Andrea! Maybe you’re into a red carpet instead of a mat, but I think it works…

      Yes, daring to bite the apple, to take the plunge. To just be who you are… I will let you know when the paradox leafs-out and requires attention. Perhaps instead of pruning, we’ll just stand near one another and encourage a few others to join us. Start a forest or something.

      I hadn’t realized my fabled allusions… Hafiz is sneaky, indeed… 🙂



    • Well… thank you, Sue. Much appreciated. I’m happy to know you disappeared for a moment in there. There’s nothing like a refreshing dip in timelessness… the place where we all meet…



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