Turtles all the way down … south

Sy and Matt at the Savannah Book FestivalTurtles all the way down … south. The Hardshell Faithful turn out at the Savannah Book Festival to hear Sy and Matt talk about the their turtle books.Sy and Matt at the Savannah Book Festival

Get Out Alive logoGet Out Alive — always a worthy goal, and a great name for the podcast on which Sy shared her turtle (and shark and tiger and octopus) adventures. Listen to the episode here.

All Creatures Good Good. The devoted fans of the PBS hit show, All Creatures Great and Small have picked their favorite books. And no surprise, there are three books by Sy: The Good Good Pig, How to be a Good Creature, and The Soul of an Octopus. Next season could the good vets be called on to treat an octopus on one of those farms in the Yorkshire Dales?

Secrets of The Octopus
Sy is pleased to have seen an advance screening of National Geographic’s Secrets of The Octopus. (Sy wrote the book.) The film will premiere on the National Geographic channel on Sunday, April 21. It will be available the next day – which is Earth Day — on Disney+ and Hulu. Watch the trailer here.

Sy on the yellow carpet with the fabulous creators and talent behind the TV series, Secrets of the Octopus
Forget the red carpet. Yesterday, at the National Geographic shoot, it was the yellow carpet. Here’s Sy with the fabulous creators and talent behind the coming TV series, Secrets of the Octopus, right before their panel discussion with the TV critics in Los Angeles.

WGBH Boston Public Radio  visits Fire Chief
Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and the fine crew from their show — Boston Public Radio on WGBH — visit Fire Chief. Watch here.

A seafood firm wants to farm octopus. Activists say they’re too smart for that,” reports NPR. A seafood company, Nueva Pescanova, plans to build tanks by a dock in the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco. The company announced its plans several years ago. “Despite opposition, its permit requests are currently pending.”

Sy is “appalled,” she told NPR. Octopuses “are sensitive, curious, intelligent creatures with memories and with volition,” she said. They deserve better. Read the rest of the story here.

Marv Hoffman is one of Sy’s dear friends. Marv is an ace teacher who has mentored a legion of teachers. In his blog, he writes about Of Time and Turtles: “Week after week, Sy and Matt return to the Turtle Rescue League (TRL) to do whatever needs to be done for inhabitants of this loving home.

Turtle Rescue League (TRL) carSy creates vivid portraits of many of the residents of TRL who acquire colorful names, usually based on the circumstances in which they’re found – Pizza Man, Fire Chief, etc. As with the octopuses, real relationships develop between their care givers and these strange creatures, who predate even the dinosaurs. I have to admit that I haven’t retained much knowledge about the various sub-species of turtles who pass through, but I do recall the individuals and cheer their recoveries or mourn their losses.

“This much would suffice to make an engaging book. There is a chapter in which Sy and Matt join TRL staff on a rescue mission to a beach where sea turtles are being washed ashore in ways that will lead to their deaths without the help of their human Samaritans. I read it with as much excitement as the sections I read in Kon-Tiki oh so long ago about its encounters with life-threatening storms.

“But there’s more, the part that explains the centerpiece of the title Of Time and Turtles. Because turtles live such long lives – some have been known to live as long as 200 years — the sense of time that surrounds them unfolds at a different rate than it does for us frenetic humans. Even their injuries heal at a different rate. It happens that Sy’s work with the turtles coincides with the Covid years which caused astonishing disruptions in the time sense of many people. As an example, my guesses at how long ago significant events in my life occurred are now way out of line with the reality.

“It’s as if Sy’s time with the turtles and our Covid time put us outside the traditional linear understanding of how things unfold. In the Jewish view of the events in the bible there is the following concept: “Ain mukdam v’ain m’uchar ba’torah.” There is no early and no late in the torah, which suggests a more circular view of time that challenges the idea that events are stacked like dominos forever poised to fall in exactly the same sequence.

“Sy quotes a scientist who speaks about “warm-blooded chauvinism,” the assumption that human views on understanding the natural world are the only possible ones. Once again, Sy has helped me step outside my skin into a universe of much broader and more diverse realities. Our creaturely arrogance is so profound it takes a hell of a book to accomplish that.