Absorbed By Nature

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"Weeks hitting the road, one fasting in the bathtub,
raw hamburger mossing in the watery stoppage,
the room drenched with musk like kerosene -
no one shaved, and only the turtle washed.
He was so beautiful when we flipped him over:
greens, reds, yellows, fringe of faded savage..."
-Robert Lowell, Returning Turtle

          Have you ever traveled to a destination that was completely out of your element? Do you remember a birthday as a young child when you received the coolest new toy? This poem seems to be similar to an experience like that. Robert Lowell seems to be describing a situation in which the individuals involved became so immersed in the turtle, the world around them was soon forgotten. With the vivid description of the colors of the turtle, it is easy to feel as though the turtle could possibly be the most beautiful thing in the world. And it seems as if it was mesmerizing as well. If no one shaved, and the room had a musk, it is easy to conclude that the turtle was the sole center of attention.
          But, as all things change and time moves on, interest always seems to fade. Whether it is the realization that life can not continue to travel down a specific path, nothing remains constant. By releasing the turtle, it shows that good things must come to an end at some point - life can not remain frozen in a specific moment. But, as seen when the turtle beings to swim away, it looks back and winks. This shows that time spent is not time wasted. If even a moment of happiness is achieved, there should be no regrets.
          With this poem, Robert Lowell could be showing readers the complexity of nature - something that most do not take the time to stop and admire. Like the turtle, the world around us is full of beauty and wonder. Sometimes it may do individuals well to stop and spend an hour doing nothing but staring at the wonders that surround them. Beauty will be realized, and joy will be found. And although the joy may pass, the memory will continue. Just like the turtle looked back, people can look into their past, examine it - and rediscover the beauty around them.

Thoughts From Other Students 

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