While visiting my 95 year old uncle and my cousin near central park in New York on one of the first warm, sunny days of spring two weeks ago, the power and beauty of our inter-species connections shined its bright light on me in a most unexpected way. After lunch with my wise, sage-like uncle, aunt and cousin, my cousin and I went for a walk in Central Park surrounded by hundreds of ecstatic New Yorkers rejoicing in welcoming fragrances and colors of flowers and trees celebrating the birth of spring. We were two cousins reconnecting, amidst the crowds meandering at a seemingly controlled pace along the paved walkways around the ponds while others paddled in rowboats, everyone moving in one flowing mass, packed solid like schools of fish following some unknown electromagnetic connection between us all. People of all races, colors, creeds, dressed up in all arrays of flamboyant spring colors, chatting away with each other, lost in their individual conversations, mindstreams and worlds, yet all connected by the speed of the flow of beings along the paths. It was really the first time I felt that my cousin and I were able to connect in a much deeper, heartfelt way, away from the sometimes challenging conversations of other family members regarding the drama’s that fill most families lives. In the midst of our chats and the crowds, there lay a small, one inch long, red-eared green turtle, head and feet tucked into its home shell, barely avoiding the feet of hundreds of pedestrians. It was truly an absolute miracle that someone, unaware of his presence beneath the hundreds of feet passing over him, would not have squashed him into flat oblivion.
My cousin actually noticed the turtle first, we picked it up and I held it in my hands. I examined it to see that it was still alive. The first sign of life was it weakly sticking out its hind legs to push off of my hand, its head tucked so far inside its shell as possible, that it seemed it might come out the other end. As we pondered what to do with our new found companion, it is as if time stood still, one person after another stopped, looked and expressed with such joy how wonderful it was that we stopped in the midst of the hussle and bussle to pick up and save this turtle. It is as if time stood still while this trans-species field connected all of us in a moment of joy. We thought that the best place to put our fearful little friend tucked into his shell was near the waters edge in the pond. At first we placed him on cement by the water, yet it felt that it might feel more comfortable and safe to put him on some earth near the water, so he/she could choose freely between solid ground or dive into the depths of the pond. All the earth was fenced off, so we pondered where to do it. In the next nanosecond, my cousin took our little friend in his hand and climbed over the fence and placed him at the perfect spot in the grass near the ponds edge. At that moment, I felt the closest connection I ever had with my cousin. At that moment, I could feel his empathy for our scared little friend and appreciated the compassion he must have with all his patients and how his patients must so appreciate his caring doctor’s bedside manner.
He had chosen a path to become a gastroenterologist and I had chosen a path to become a veterinarian focused on integrative medicine, yet I realized at that moment, it was all the same destination, just different choices. The compassion we felt for all beings was the same. The empathy of our fellow colorful beings walking together, embracing the turtle connection was all the same. In that magical moment, oneness was expressed in all its brilliance. Thank you my little red-eared turtle friend! Yeh!