as if a rosary


Somewhere in Mexico green sea turtles near extinction. It’s been too easy and lucrative to kill them and make money off their meat and eggs. The turtles are trusting and gentle. Even as their numbers declined from 25,000 to less than 500 nesting females in fifteen years, the turtles continue to trust. Anyone can approach them.

And on Monday, somewhere along my walk along the sandstone cliffs near my home, my cousin answered my phone call. I covered the microphone on my phone so the wind noise couldn’t reach her. She was three hundred miles away in a cabin. Looking at the lake. At some point in our conversation she confirmed her doctor’s prognosis. Three to eight weeks to live.

Would I call my mother for her? She cannot bear to hear my mother’s voice break.

On my walk back home, I looked for tomatillos growing wild with the prairie grass covering the cliff I live on. Instead I found a large chunk of concrete in the street. One of these days, someone will come along and ruin a tie-rod hitting it instead of swerving. I carried it to a nearby sidewalk, then continued home.

In Paris, probably the most famous of all cathedrals–the Notre-Dame. The Celts had their sacred ground there at one time. In my family we tend to hang onto bits of Celtic trivia. As if a worry stone, a rosary. In every photo we see, a tree grows near the Gothic masterpiece. What sort of tree, we wonder. How many trees has the cathedral gone through?

And then there are the turtles, I tell my mother, after we’ve worked through what cannot be resolved. In the latest Orion issue, a story of one man who decided to take on the turtle-hunting fishermen. What would happen if he approached them by sharing the wonder and magic of the turtle world? What if he never preached or scolded? Once there were only 500 green sea turtles left. Now–with the help of turtle-hunters-turned-guardians, there are over 15,000 nests on the beach in southern Mexico.

That would really be something to see, my mother agrees, and asks me to send her the magazine article when I am through reading it.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

4 responses to “as if a rosary

  1. How it feels today, especially after reading this, is we take all we can possibly hold and a bit more into our hearts where somehow it doesn’t exactly even out but it comes a bit closer than only taking it into our minds. Isn’t it all just cracking everything open, mostly ourselves? Your geodes have a lot of company. xo

    • redmitten

      marylinn, you have a way with words and understanding. we take in all we can hold and a bit more, yes. and yes to cracking everything open, mostly ourselves. it’s not to be avoided.

  2. Diane

    I’m sorry, Sherry. Thinking of you, and your cousin… Diane

    • redmitten

      thank you diane. good to hear from you. she recently passed away and i finished writing her obit yesterday. it’s all good (as she would say).

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