Folksy Phrases About Turtles

“We’re off like a heard of turtles.”

Do you use this phrase? I do. Not often, but it’s in my stable of phrases. Its part of my folksy charm. Am I charming? Is it folksy? 

The Phrase

Off like a heard of turtles is used across America. A Google search revealed that no one is certain on how or why it got started.

How It’s Used

  1. “Something my Dad always said before a road trip.”
  2. “My Grandmother said it about getting us grandkids together.”
  3. “It’s used in to describe the slow starters in a race.”
  4. “People say it when frustrated about moving forward.”
  5. “Mom says it when she takes me and my friends to the mall.”

brook forest sign

My neighborhood has a small creek running through it. It’s bordered by towering pines and has a walking trail that spans 2.5 miles. We walk it almost every evening. We see people from the neighborhood, young and old, the power walkers, the joggers, the dog walkers, moms with strollers, skate boarders and children on bikes. It’s lovely. brooke forest

Sunday evening, we noticed at one end of the creek a bunch of turtles in the water. There were easily 40 or 50 of them. They were the same size and color, and quite large. They didn’t appear to be going anywhere and have been in the same spot each time we pass by.


I’m not sure why they have congregated. Is it seasonal? Will they up and disappear? We’ll look for them but they’ll be gone? Maybe?

Some Observations

  1. Our neighborhood has more community on the Brook Forest Trail.
  2. Apparently, so do the turtles.
  3. We walk for exercise, fresh air, and because it’s beautiful.
  4. What is their purpose?
  5. They aren’t aggressive, impatient, or irritable.
  6. They exist in apparent peace and harmony.

To Close

It’s fascinating to have this nature preserve in the middle of our neighborhood. There are fish, ducks, birds and scandalous squirrels rapidly running amuck.

There is a keen sense of nature’s potent presence. I know they’re just turtles, but I wonder if they have something to teach me about life. Maybe?

Well, time to close, it’s a busy day, and I’m off like a herd of turtles.

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