While I have journeyed outside the United States on multiple occasions, my passport remains unstamped. Its blank pages reflect a total lack of travel. When I leave the United States, it’s always by cruise ship. I’ve sailed throughout the Eastern and Western Caribbean, through the Mexican Riviera, and up into Canada. In 2008, when the cruise industry was planning to require passports for travel, I rushed out to apply for mine. That change never took place, and while I do travel with my passport for identification, it doesn’t have a single stamp. There are no official records of my destinations, but I do have the memories, the stories, and volumes of photographs. The sea turtles can surely relate, as their journeys are undocumented, too. Though they travel thousands of miles in a lifetime, there are no proud stamps to boast of their destinations. While it would be nice to have a colorful passport, it’s really all about the journey, and not a little stamp.
“World Traveler”–Watercolor on Board with Swarovski crystals–Who needs a colorful passport when you’ve got a little bling?
My obsession with sea turtles started when I was young. One balmy summer night in the late 1960’s, my parents roused my siblings and me from our slumber. Wiping the sleep from our eyes, we walked quietly down to the beach, the full moon lighting our way. I still remember how cool the damp sand felt under my bare feet. My mother held her finger to her lips as she led us to the dunes. There, bathed in silver moonlight, was a huge sea turtle laying her eggs. We kept our distance and swallowed our gasps, but at the time, it was the most magical thing I had ever witnessed. And so began my love of sea turtles. Since then, I have grown to respect the gentle giants and their amazing journeys. I marvel at the way they lead a double life on land and sea, the way their scutes become individual mosaics detailing their travels, the way their eyes show glimpses of the wisdom they have gained over decades of roaming the Earth’s oceans. I see them as the silent guardians of the sea. I can only imagine what things they have seen, the stories they could tell, the secrets they keep.
“Imagine”–Watercolor on Arches Aquarelle