Saturday, April 26, 2008

Turtle Taxi

The other day in a taxi there was a small metallic turtle hanging from the ceiling. The driver explained how turtles are Buddhist symbols of long life, and he suggested I go to a temple on the Chao Phraya River and partake in the ritual of releasing a young turtle into the water to assure that I live to be very old. I told him that I had already set a turtle free at Wat Rakang (Temple of the Bells), and that it had hopefully already done the trick.

While we were chatting, I started to think about the irony of this symbol of long life dangling from a safety pin. I couldn't help but think that this tired old turtle needs a more comfortable and respectful place to rest his shell. But, instead, this poor creature is precariously suspended in air, hanging on for dear life.