Turtle Teaches Woman That Sometimes What Seems Stuck Is Not

Turtle in a hole.

By Yvonne Vavra

Being stuck feels all kinds of terrible — you know it, you’ve been there. For much too long. So as we’re crawling out of this Corona-shaped hole back into life, you will understand the urgency I felt to give a helpful nudge to a turtle I came upon in Central Park Thursday afternoon.

I had been sitting on the lawn wedged between the 79th Street Transverse and the northern tip of Hernshead Lake, the last bit of open land before the Ramble swallows the sunlight. The rain had graciously given us an hour or two to dry, which is what I was doing, and not much more.

Suddenly, a hazy picture of struggle crept into the corner of my eye. There she was, a turtle, butt-stuck in a hole. She was bobbing around, trying desperately to get out it seemed. So this city kid went to get a stick, ignorantly thinking that nature needs my help. Just a little lift from under the butt, and the turtle would be able to take a walk on the wild side again.

Plotting to assault the turtle’s posterior, I did not deserve the beauty I was about to see. The turtle wiggled out a perfect little egg. I was both paralyzed by awe and ashamed for intruding. I had no business being part of this moment. I hope the turtle took it like a New Yorker — no privacy, whatta y’gonna do?!

So come peek with me, and bring some patience:

After seeing the second egg drop, I smiled all my good energy into the hole and went on my way. And as the rain began to fall down on me once more, my perfect moment of nature’s force was complete.

Welcome to New York, little future baby turtles! This city will never fail to amaze you, you’ll see.

COLUMNS, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 12 comments | permalink
    1. Maitri Mody says:

      Most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen! In NYC!!

    2. Chris Daftsios says:

      I had no idea of the wildlife treasures that existed in my park. This was truly a joy to read. Thanks Yvonne!

    3. susan says:

      The turtle lives twixt plated decks
      Which skillfully conceal its sex
      I think it’s clever of the turtle
      In such a fix to be so fertile.
      Ogden Nash
      In homage to a great picture!

    4. Gabriele says:

      New York is really a surprising city! Most people think that there is only concrete, sky scraper and hectic… but Yvonne fortunately is relaxed and curious enough to discover such wonderful things! Thank you! Keep on going as you used to….

    5. Patricia Gilman says:


    6. Leigh says:

      Really beautiful! Great perspective. Thank you for sharing this moment with us!

    7. JerryV says:

      Looks like a “Red-Eared Slider” Turtle

    8. Martha says:

      Gosh Yvonne, how lucky you were! Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience of nature. I missed the midnight turtle phenomenon in Costa Rica only to find out I could have seen it in my own backyard!

    9. JerryV says:

      Interestingly, these “red-eared sliders” are not native to our area. But pet shops have sold many of these as “pets” when the turtles were small. When the turtles grew up and outlived their confined aquarium/terrarium spaces, the owners dumped them in parks. It remains to be seen what effects these “exotic” adult turtles will have on native wildlife in Central Park.

    10. Susan says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this. You slow down, observed quietly and saw a wondrous thing.

    11. Phoebe says:

      That was absolutely precious!!!