Conversation With A Tortoise – Part II

T & Me – On Faith And Freedom

Me: It is my last morning. And I have been having the most miserable time. Here I am, sitting on this seat for the final time, crying my heart out. Then I hear some rustling and I think to myself …

“That can’t be another tortoise can it?
On my last morning –
As I saw one on the first.
That would be quite something.”

So, I wander over to the fence where I had seen you before and, after a quick scour on my side of the fence, I spot you. On the other side of the fence! Sitting in the sunshine, looking calm and content. You are not pushing up against the fence. You don’t look as if you really want to be getting to anywhere else. You are just sitting there, soaking up the sun. You look happy over on that side of the fence. I had imagined that you would.

T: I always knew I would come back and see you. It was just going to take me a while to make my way. But I knew I would, with persistence and patience and faith. I knew it was possible. I knew I had to just keep on trying and eventually my gap would show itself to me. And it did. Then I made my way back here, to my favourite place on the planet. I wonder, if you ever find your way through the gap in the fence, will you come back here too, to your favourite spot on earth? I hope you do, and I’ll meet you here, and we can sit and enjoy soaking up the sunshine together.

I know you would enjoy sitting in the sunshine with me, but I think you may have your own fence you are battling against right now. Be patient, be persistent, have faith. The universe will help you. I am a creature created to keep trying, no matter how long things take. You were made in the same way. You too have the strength to keep trying until you find your gap. I know you had wanted to help me. But this was a challenge I had to overcome for myself. You were right not to intervene. That would have frightened me – possibly damaged me – it may have prevented me ever reaching this sunbeam. But here I am now, where I always wanted to be, and I am grateful for you allowing me to travel my path, as only I can, in order to get here.

Me: I felt consoled seeing you there in your sunbeam my tortoise friend. I couldn’t quite believe you had come back to visit me on my very last day. Seeing you, and trying to understand what you were trying to show me, comforted me somehow. Especially in that place – as close to Heaven as I have ever felt. But I still felt some despair – a fear that I will never find my way through the fence. I keep banging and scuffling up against it, but I do not know where my gap is, and I don’t know how to find the sun like you have. To find contentment and stillness. I feel my whole life has been battling against the fence, and it made me sob to think I may never make it. I cried for some time about that.

And then I congratulated you on your success and asked for help to find my own way through. The problem is I am not sure what my fence is made of, and I have no clue where my gap may be. And what if the other side of the fence is not lusher and more peaceful as I believe? What if the sun is no warmer on that side than this? What if it is a mistake to make my way over the fence. What if something bad happens to you on that side that would mean you would have been safer on this?

T: I don’t see it that way. And, none of us know what is to come. An eagle could swoop down at any moment and take me. And that could happen on either side. There are no guarantees. But for now, I am where I battled to be. This sunbeam, this patch of light, this area of lush vegetation, this side of the fence – for this is freedom. And that is all I wanted, freedom from the barrier that kept me from all of those things.

Me: I am scared tortoise. I am scared of not making it through my own fence, and also of what might become of me if I do. I don’t know what to do for the best and I don’t know how to reach the sunshine I am seeking, or if it even truly exists?

T: You’ve felt the sun here right? And you have felt it before haven’t you? That was many years ago now. In meeting me, you are being guided to find your sunshine once again, and live it and breath it in every day. I know you are scared, but you are up against the fence now anyway aren’t you. You are looking over here at this sunshine and thinking …

“If only, just once, I could experience that freedom, that peace, to bathe in that glorious sunlight”

Am I right? So you are battering and stumbling along the fence just like I was. How long are you going to keep doing that for? It is not very fulfilling is it? And meanwhile, you are missing the beautiful view right behind you. You are staring at a fence, making little headway toward the sunbeam you claim to crave.

So, can I make a suggestion? Just as I was guided to find my gap, have faith that this too is the intention for you. You were made to find your sunbeam. You believe that now more than ever don’t you? Having seen me again, in this place, so close to Heaven.

“May I suggest you carry on up the hill as I have done.
Continue along the fence as I have done.

And, when it is the right time, you will reach your gap, and be guided to the patch of sunshine that is meant for you. It is waiting for you, and it will be seen to that you find it. Have faith. Have patience. And know that you have the strength and the persistence to make it to that sunbeam. No, it may not be easy for you, as it has not been easy for me. But do I not now look at peace, do I not look calm, do I not look content in my sunbeam? It will be so for you too. You will be helped through the fence at the right time. Yes, there is a little more hill to climb yet, but believe me when I say the effort is worth it. I wish you well, and I look forward to seeing you back here in this heavenly place. There is a sunbeam waiting for you, and you will find your way into its light I promise.

Me: Tortoise, you have inspired me more than you will ever know. I am so sad to be leaving you today. I am sad to be leaving the warmth of this sunlight I have felt. But, there will be more sunshine. And on another day, the sun will be drawn to me again, and bathe me fully in its glorious light. I will miss you tortoise. But I am so thankful for you. You have helped me to believe I can find my way up the hill, to the gap I am meant to go through, in order to find the sunlight I crave.

Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After


Conversation With A Tortoise – Part I

First Encounter With An Unlikely Spirit Animal

Me: So, I came to this seat on that first morning, to spend a little quiet time, to watch the butterflies and the paragliders floating by. It was beautiful, serene, the closest to Heaven I had ever felt. And then you came along. My first wild tortoise. I could hear scuffling in the undergrowth. For some time I heard it, but didn’t know it was you. Eventually I had to go and explore and there you were. My heart filled up with joy to see you.

I thought …

“This is perfect.
Look at who I have found.
How lucky am I”

Read More »

Sunshine Seat

I found this poem recently that spoke to me of a particular time, a particular place and a story not yet told. A place I encountered and instantly knew was one of the ‘Thin Places’

A place that turned me into a Catherine wheel. And, though fireworks will always burn themselves out, as is their very nature, they leave their colours in your soul, to take with you when you are elsewhere, and fireworks aren’t appropriate.

And while that untold story is being formed, I leave you with a view of this sunshine seat. Your own may be anywhere, you may not have visited yet – but you’ll know it when you arrive.


On sunshine seat we find our feet
and get to feel the heat of love,
the numb warms up and the frozen leaves
for this seat wakes the sleeping buds;
it wakes them all, the big and small
the fearful and the tightly closed,
on sunshine seat we greet the heat
and open, like the thankful rose.

The clouds go by, we hear a sigh
coming from our weary hearts,
and sense a change, a flaming wave
of quite delightful charming sparks,
that turn us into catherine wheels
fizzing through the shifting hours,
on sunshine seat we’re strong, not weak
we see us as the great empowered.

On sunshine seat the word ‘defeat’
is not a word that’s ever heard,
but ‘gorgeous’ is, along with ‘bliss’
and the views go far beyond superb,
for sunshine seat sits on the cliffs
looking out at sea and sky,
and all souls leap on this old seat
for it always takes the spirit high.

~ Andrew Hobbs


 · Forty and Everything After 2018 · Poem by Andrew Hobbs  · Artist Unknown


Tiny Perfect Moments – Rums and Drums and Pork Pie Hats

I had only three days left in Rio. None of us wanted to contemplate the end of our South American adventures, but for me at least, that time was almost upon me. The three of us had been toying with what to eat that evening for far longer than was helpful. And so, the decision was made that a Caipirinha may be the answer in the first instance, and then we would see how the mood took us.Read More »

The Gold In The Gaps

So we’ve seen some breakage
There are cracks in these jars
We have inflicted some on each other
Water seeped from those scars
We watched solemnly as it ebbed away
Fearing it may never again flow
But that water, it was stagnant
And we had to let it go

We are now filling those gaps with gold
Where would we have fitted it before?
If we hadn’t given in to those holes
We had choices to make in those chinks
We might have crumbled to dust
We almost did
But instead we chose to let the sun light through
And now we are capturing gold from the dew

Yes, there may still be drafts we cannot resolve
But that air brings with it oxygen
And we had to learn to breath again
These bowls have seen much harm
Dropped from sad and weary arms
Those shards we once watched fall
Let us take them up and gild them
And with those same arms now rebuild them

What porcelain person was ever not made more whole
When they finally acknowledge there are flaws in their bowl
They are fragile and imperfect and require careful carriage
We now witness new strength in this clay and gold marriage
As integrity returns to this broken vessel’s form
We can clear up the debris from the retreating storm
And this crazing in our glazing marks our journeys’ map
As we honour the strength of this gold in our gaps


Copyright © 2018 · Forty and Everything After


The World Is My Oyster

Recently I started a course in Counselling and Psychotherapy. As part of this course I have to undertake my own training therapy. My first session was last week. I am already hooked. I find this stuff absolutely fascinating. The things I have been learning just make so much sense to me. I want nothing more than to dive into a bath of all of these books I have been buying, until their nutrients seeps through my skin and I have become a knowledge-filled, prune-skinned, wise woman.

It reminded me of a favourite blog piece of mine, written whilst I was undergoing my own counselling a year or two ago … when my head and my heart hurt and I couldn’t say why.

That whole process was life-changing for me, and it has now inspired me to finally follow my passion for all things human, and sign up for the course I am now engaged in.

And so, as a new year approaches, and the world seems to be my oyster once again, I wanted to share this personal fairytale one more time.

The Path To Wise Counsel – A Tale

Once upon a time there was a small version of me. This girl had chutzpah, she had self-confidence and just the right amount of sass. This small version of me had utter certainty that the world was her oyster, and she fully intended to be the creator of pearls.Read More »