Turtles and Dragonflies
Journal June 18, 2015
I went to the Kellogg-Weaver Dunes today. Soon after turning on to Highway 84, I pulled the van over to rescue a painted turtle. She was in the middle of the other lane and I worried another driver may not stop for her. Gently I picked her up and moved her to the side of the road, in the direction she had been heading. With the painted turtle off the road, I continued on my way. A few minutes later I stopped again, this time by Schmoker’s bridge. Three months had passed since I looked out onto McCarthy Lake from the bridge, so I wanted to soak in the change. The water was no longer trapped under a layer of ice; it had long since thawed in my absence. The once brown and dreary landscape was green and vibrant. Birds hovered around by the bridge, seeming to holler at me. They have nests built on the underside of the bridge and didn’t appreciate my proximity to them. I heard the distinctive croak of a green frog, near the water’s edge but did not see the frog itself. Damselflies and dragonflies, bright blues and greens, hovered like helicopters over the surface of the water hunting for their next meal.
After a few moments of reveling in McCarthy Lake, I got back into the van and slowly kept driving along Highway 84, taking note of the prairie in bloom and watching for turtles crossing the road. A beautiful purple flower in bloom dotted the prairie. Perhaps I should have walked in the prairie and tried to identify the flower, but this visit I didn’t venture on to the prairie. I enjoyed the blooming prairie, its beauty in early summer. I stopped twice to move female Blanding’s turtles off the road. I had only been down on the dunes in the fall before, when the only turtles moving about were the hatchlings. Seeing the much bigger adult Blanding’s with their bright yellow necks was very fun. I observed a hawk soar, it was too far away to identify. The whole scene was breathtaking and reviving.
I continued on to Half Moon Landing, there I parked the van and went to sit by the water’s edge. Enjoying being in nature and being alone, I was able to relax and loose myself in the natural world around me. Lilly pads, more properly yellow lotus, were mesmerizing as they rippled in the water. A pair of dragonflies danced together just above the bed of lotus pads. Various birds sang in the trees around the river. Water bugs glided on the surface. Mesmerizing and refreshing. With reluctance I got up to leave an hour or so later.