To regular folks it might mean something like this:
1. Any of several edible North American turtles of the family Emydidae, inhabiting fresh or brackish waters, especially the diamondback terrapin: some are threatened or endangered.
2. Any of various similar turtles.
To the rest of us, it's an icon surronded by legends – past and present.
There is one legend that the Earth rests on the back of a Terrapin.
There is another legend about a boy who found a Terrapin. He started to examine it but the turtle pulled in its head and closed its shell like a vice. The boy was upset and he picked up a stick to try to pry it open. The boy's uncle saw all this and remarked, "No, that's not the way! In fact, you may kill the turtle but you'll not get it to open up with a stick."
The uncle took the terrapin into the house and set it near the fireplace. It wasn't but a few minutes until it began to get warm. Then the turtle pushed out its head, then stretched out its legs and began to crawl.
"Turtles are like that," said the uncle, "And people, too. You can't force them into anything. But if you first warm them up with some real kindness, more than likely, they will do what you want them to do."
And a legend closer to home: It was the name given to a museum that was never built, meant to house the Dead’s archives and provide a performance and experience space. That legend is now Terrapin Crossroads – Phil Lesh's music venue and restaurant in San Rafael, California.
Every new days brings us the chance to create our own legends. Use them wisely.