By Charles Towne
This morning I walked out into the back yard and was greeted by an amorous pair of gopher tortoises performing the turtle dance.
The mating dance of the gopher tortoise is really quite an elaborate display of head bobs and weaves, along with tender love nips. The head bobs take the place of footwork among gopher tortoises I suppose, and for quite obvious reasons, considering the tortoise’s slow movements. I wouldn’t expect turtles to dance a waltz, perhaps a clog but never a waltz.
The male tortoise bobs his head up and down quite fast, as though nodding assent to some question only he understands. And then, almost as quickly, he shakes his head back and forth, as if denying his intent. (It’s obvious that he is not being completely honest because of the goofy grin on his face. And just so you understand, this head bobbing indicates that the male is interested in something other then… simply… bobbing his head.)
Once he has the attention of the lovely young lady tortoise, she approaches him and says something like, “Hello big boy. Where have you been all my life?”
To which he thinks, in turtle-ese of course, “Whoa boy, she likes me! oh goody, goody, goody!” He then proceeds to bob his head even faster, pausing now and then to give her some playful little love nips on the front legs. What is the saying about love springing eternal?
The only thing that we can possibly learn from this elaborate head bobbing ritual is that persistence pays off.
I can remember the time I tried the head bobbing thing with my wife, after which she went into the bedroom, locked the door behind her, and then shouted at me to go away or she would call the police. What works for gopher tortoises obviously isn’t going to work for me. It sure didn’t get the desired results. Perhaps I need to perfect my head bobbing technique… and throw in a few love nips…? Maybe…?
Dear God, thank you for being so very patient with me… and thanks for giving me a little more sense than a simple-minded gopher tortoise… sometimes… maybe? Thank you for giving me the ability to not take life so seriously, and for being able to laugh at my own goof ups, foibles and faux pas. In Jesus’ holy name I ask it, Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.