Guest post: Mig’s tortoise on how to do it

Despite what they tell you, there is a way out of here. The secret is to keep looking. And to look everywhere. And once you have looked everywhere, look again. And if looking everywhere again didn’t work, look everywhere again in a different pattern. Because you never know. All you know is, there’s a way out. The secret is to never stop. It’s not perseveration, take my word for it. It’s perseverance. There are temptations and distractions on the way, like your reflection in the cellar window.
God, the reflection. I could stare at that for hours. In fact, I have stared at it for hours.
There’s just something about it. It cannot be explained, the fascination. They think I think it’s another tortoise, but I don’t. It’s just, I dunno.
But you keep looking. As if looking were the whole point. But escaping is the point, let’s not kid ourselves or comfort ourselves. You don’t rest until you escape.
Oh, this is a nice rock.
Just the right size, tortoise size.
Hi there. Quiet type?
Hi there. Hi there. Hi there. You alone? Do you mind? Oh, god.
That’s another distraction, the rock. But so good.
Such a sweet rock.
But you don’t rest until you escape. Unless you count the distractions. Life is one thing only: escaping.
Not just being on the lookout for an escape, but being in the actual process of escaping, constantly. Everything is escaping. The secret is this: you must already be in the process of escaping when the avenue of escape presents itself. You must already be climbing the board blocking your exit from the flower bed when the board falls over because it was poorly secured.
You must already be shinnying over the flower pot blocking your exit when it turns out you’ve grown enough to make it out.
You must already be squeezing through the little picket fence when it gets loosened just enough to make it out.
The secret is you must always be there, escaping, in order to escape.
But what do you do when you’ve escaped, I am sometimes asked by some wise guy.
Here’s what you do: You escape from that, too: It’s escape and escape and escape, all the way down.

6 responses to “Guest post: Mig’s tortoise on how to do it

  1. Your tortoise may indeed be systematically trying to escape, maybe even tests each potential escape area daily to see if anything has changed. I prefer the idea that it wants to explore new places, but then I have to wonder if there’s actually a difference. I think all animals are much smarter than the “experts” realize, but I wonder if your tortoise is consciously or subconsciously trying to increase the variety in its diet. Perhaps it’s tired of the pellets, and who knows what succulents may be in the next yard over? I found this while researching tortoise diets:

    “In the wild, tortoises tend to be browsers. They wander over quite a wide area and in the process take small quantities of a very wide variety of seasonally available food. Some species are known to consume up to 200 different kinds of plants during the year.”

    The article is here:

  2. gordon

    I’ve read enough about the tortoise’s smear paintings to understand why Mig might be reluctant to alter its diet.

  3. anne

    The best part was “escape all the way down”
    and the other best part was “hi there!”
    and the other best part was thinking about a turtle shinnying.

  4. gordon: I did not mean to suggest that Mig should change the tortoise’s diet; I meant merely that the wanderlust might be motivated by something other than a desire to escape.

  5. gordon

    Jann: I didn’t mean to suggest that you thought Mig was a irresponsible tortoise feeder; I just wanted to make a poop joke.

  6. no one you know

    ha ha ha ha ha!!