We like to talk about bravery: facing or enduring danger or pain, showing courage.  We know stepping out of our comfort zone is a means to expand our horizons.  It’s not just something humans face.  Bravery and stepping out of one’s comfort zone is prevalent in the animal kingdom as well.  Enjoy this story of bravery exhibited by one of my favorite animals.

My earliest memory was that of being in a very dark place.  I felt very crowded, heard strange sounds and smelt strange odors.  I was, quite frankly, very confused!  I remember feeling that I was NOT alone, yet there was nobody cuddling or comforting me.  Instead, it felt like somebody was crawling on top of me, or even scratching me.

I felt the urge to climb.  Not sure exactly why, but I just had a deep sense of urgency to wiggle about and climb.  So that is exactly what I did.  I started to squirm about and after what seemed forever, I heard a strange cracking sound and all the sudden I had a bit more room to move.  Here’s when it got exciting!  I most definitely was NOT alone!

Everywhere I looked I saw other babies that looked just like me.  They were also wiggling about and climbing.  In fact, they were climbing on top of each other!  It was fun at first, but then after a while, it started to get tiring.  Everybody was stepping on top and of each other, trying to climb higher and higher.  Buy why??

As I continued to climb on top of what I assumed to be my brothers and sisters, I felt something start to trickle down onto me.  It was soft and scratchy at the same time.  Whatever it was, it was forming below me and making it easier to get momentum and climb higher.

After what felt like a long time, I was able to climb on top of all my siblings!  YAY!  I had made it to the top in what had been a fun game.  But wait, why was I still finding that I had an urge to keep climbing upwards??   No idea, but I did…so I kept going.  All the sudden, my nose and then my head broke free of the soft and scratchy material surrounding me!

WOW, what was going on now??  It just got very bright and my eyes started to burn.  Scared, I decided to just be still.  So, I rested for a while.  My brothers and sisters must have noticed that I had stopped climbing which made them curious as to why, so they kept pushing and climbing themselves.  Eventually a few of them reached the top with me and poked their noses out into the bright open space too.  We were all nervous, but excited at the same time.

After a minute, I decided to be brave and pushed my way forward.  All the sudden, I was out in the open and had lots of room to move!  It was so exciting.  There was still darkness around me, but not nearly as dark as before.  I was smelling the most inviting smell and hearing a beautiful, rhythmic sound, as if it was calling out to me.  When I looked up, I saw a brilliant light shining out in the distance, casting it’s alluring presence onto a dancing surface.

That was all I needed to see.  I immediately got busy and started to make my way down a smooth, slippery slope.  Wheeeee!  This is fun, I thought, as I started slipping down this giant slide with my brothers and sisters.  We had a long journey across the soft, scratchy surface.  This motion felt a little awkward to me, but I assumed I’d master it as I got a little more practice.

All the sudden, the most amazing thing happened!  I heard a very interesting sound and caught the most wonderful scent, and then felt a cool sensation wash over me!  I scooted backwards, then started to crawl again, this time more rapidly.  Another cool sensation washed over me.  This happened a few more times until I finally felt a big rush come over me and I was free of the soft scratchy surface!  And suddenly I was…what?  I could move freely, effortlessly, majestically.

This ease of motion made me feel so happy.  I started moving my little flippers as quickly as I possibly could.  A few of my brothers and sisters were right there beside me.  We felt happy, free, alive and overcome with joy to be off on a new adventure.

I’m not sure where I am going, if I’ll stay with my siblings or see my Mom or Dad along my journey.  If I don’t see my Mom again, I am thankful that she left me in a safe place to grow and spend time with my brothers and sisters when I was just a tiny baby…sea turtle!

Baby sea turtles have the odds stacked against them when it comes to survival!  They must face countless predators as they enter the ocean and then as they frantically swim for days to get to the (relatively) safe haven of the Sargassum Sea.  It is estimated that only 1 in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings survive to adulthood.  As you watch them emerge from their sandy nest, all this concern and impending danger is momentarily suppressed.  Instead their intense bravery, tenacity, and adorableness is enjoyed by all blessed to observe their grand entrance into this world.

I am fortunate to volunteer with the Topsail Turtle Project.  They are based out of Topsail Island, NC.  To learn more, follow them on Facebook or visit my Giving Back page here on the site.