A Tortoise Taught Me New Levels of Awareness and Compassion.

The Wicked Orchard by Sidra Owens
7 min readOct 15, 2023
Photo by David Cadenas on Unsplash

Growing up my mother taught me to be aware of my surroundings.

As you’re moving through the world, look around, you never know what you might see.

Look up even.

More than just being observant, it’s a prime way to keep yourself safe, which I have managed to do over the years; as well as taking in some interesting sights.

But I think there is something about being on your own property that can allow for complacency to worm its way into one’s habits, especially in the daytime. Not to mention, always speedily moving forward to the next accomplishable goal, because we always have too much to do.

It was near the end of Summer in 2020.

You all remember 2020, don’t you?

The year everything went to hell.

The year that wouldn’t quit.

Yeah, that year.

It was August, and it was hot as fuck.

So, hot in fact, that crossing the yard to get the mail was reminiscent of a trek across the desert. Complete with sweat and the feeling of endless toil and despair.

Of course, not many people, were moving about in the world, because of Covid-19 and the semi-lockdown.

All the children around here were getting ready for remote learning, which meant that I had to go to my daughter’s school to pick up her school-issue laptop and textbooks for the coming semester.

After saying my goodbyes to the family, I grabbed my ID, my keys and stepped outside, closing and locking the front door behind me.

It was just after noon. It was tremendously bright outside and you could see the haze of the oppressive humidity hanging in the air.

Moving quickly, I go down the few steps and cross the yard to my car. I unlock it and hop inside, cranking the car and immediately getting the air condition going. After buckling up and checking the road behind me in the rearview, I put the vehicle in reverse, release the park break and slowly began to roll backwards towards the street.

But instead of smoothly rolling over the grass and gravel of my driveway, my vehicle rises up…