The Turtle Pond

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One of the places we go to walk is just a small little park alongside a now abandoned railroad track. There is a large pond which was probably created when they dug out whatever dirt or gravel used to be there. From the outside, it probably isn’t much to look at but I think you can find beauty and uniqueness whenever you are in nature.

Last fall, we noticed turtles on several of the logs and downed trees near the edge of the pond. Yes, we are the type of people who get excited by seeing things like this. My wife wondered what they did over the winter and I really didn’t know until I looked it up. Turtles can slow their metabolism and essentially live for months almost in slow motion. So, even when the pond was completely iced over, they were just chilling underneath the ice waiting for spring to come.

As the ice melted and the days warmed, we wondered when they would reappear. A few weeks ago, we started to see them and now we’ve tried to go there on sunny days just to watch them sit in the sun. Saturday was especially warm and we counted over 20 of them in various spots. Over the winter, people had tossed big sticks on the ice and now they float free and the turtles were even making use of them.

We even started bringing a small pair of binoculars just to get a closer look (and a more accurate count). I know it may seem a bit strange to go out to watch animals sitting in the sun but there is something about seeing them now and knowing how they survived the winter. Spring always means a little more to me because we watch the world come back to life after the cold winter and seeing turtles pop up on logs is just one more sign of that.

So now, when we get a sunny day and my wife’s schedule allows, we just find the time to get out and take a little walk and check in on our turtles to see how many of them are out and about. Scientifically, we know that life is all about survival and it is necessary to have adaptations or else they would be limited to places that are warm all year round. Still, there is a part of me that just thinks it is kind of magical that these creatures can do things that we can’t. It would be easy to dismiss them as lowly reptiles but they would certainly outlive us if we suddenly had to survive outdoors in winter with no shelter.

Maybe it is also because I’m no longer in the workforce and having to rush around to get everything done in my off hours. The slowness of the turtle is a nice reminder that sometimes we just need to slow down and appreciate the little things. Life doesn’t have to move at warp speed. Sometimes, you just need to sit in the warm sun for a bit and relax.

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