A Turtle Day

moon phase Week of 06/19/2011 Favorable Time For Planting Late Root Crops.

I woke this morning and slowly cracked open a sleepy eye. Viper's Bugloss Viper's Bugloss The first thing I saw through the bedroom window was a big, bright, round moon. I had gone to bed late the night before after a long day in the garden, and I thought I would sleep until sunrise. At 4:30 am there was no sign of daylight, but the moon was doing a good job of lighting up the yard. Maybe this would be a good time to plant some small lupines I had started from seed. It really was a beautiful morning and I felt something special might come from planting flowers in the moonlight. Anyway, it sure felt right.

Once the sun came up, I drove down the road to have a look at the bald eagleís nest near the river. Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron The young eagles are nearly feathered out, and are almost ready to leave the nest. In fact, one of them was standing on a branch a few feet from the nest. She had become a ďbrancherĒ, a young bird who is about to fledge. Her sibling was still standing in the nest but, before the day is through, Iíll bet both young birds will be branchers. Try to imagine what that first flight out into the new world must feel like. How could we earthbound humans ever realize how wonderful it must feel to spread our wings and fly, to know the magic of being between the earth and sun, as free as a bird?

As I drove slowly along the country roads that would take me home, some pretty blue flowers caught my eye. I pulled over for a closer look at several dozen green spikes covered with dark blue flowers, Viperís Bugloss. Yellow Flag Yellow Flag They are beautiful, non-native flowers that grow where the soil has been disturbed. They looked extra pretty mixed together with some white Shasta daisies.

Another reason to drive slowly is the birds I see, the ones I may not notice if I were driving too fast. Iíve often wondered whether we drive faster because our lives are going faster. We rush by everything that is worth slowing down for: Mother Nature. All she asks is that you slow down and notice her as you drive along. She would like you to slowly return to the pace that was naturally intended for us.

Painted Turtle Laying Eggs Painted Turtle Laying Eggs I may drive slowly but I get a lot of mileage out of the roads I travel in terms of how much I learn and see. If I were driving too fast, I wouldnít have noticed the majestic Great Blue heron standing in the dead tree limbs. How proud he looked as he stood there pondering the earth around him. I wondered what he was thinking. More likely, he was just living in the moment, like always. One thingís for sure, Iíll wager thereís never been any bird or animal that watches a car go by and wonders: Where are they going so fast?

I continued on my slow motion journey, and soon pulled over to get a closer look at more pretty flowers. This time itís a tall patch of yellow flags (Yellow iris). Like the Viperís Bugloss, they are not native to North America. I like them. Why Did the Snapper Cross the Road? Why Did the Snapper Cross the Road? They are showy and beautiful, and they are the only Yellow irises that grow in the wild.

I turn down a gravel road that follows the river. The first thing I notice is a painted turtle at the edge of the road a little way ahead of me. She had dug a shallow hole in the sand at the edge of the gravel road and was laying her eggs. She still had wet vegetation on her shell from the nearby pond. As I drive slowly along that four-mile stretch of gravel road, I see five more painted turtles. Today is surely a turtle day.

Yellow Tiger & Giant Black Swallowtails Yellow Tiger & Giant Black Swallowtails At the end of the road there was one last turtle to see before turning onto the paved highway. A single snapping turtle, about the size of half an apple, made me stop for him while he crossed the road. I donít mind sharing the road with wildlife. It may be hard to believe but their destinations are as important as ours.

Iím very pleased to see so many butterflies again this summer, especially the Yellow tiger swallowtails. They add so much to the already beautiful, lush, green landscape as they glide along on their big, yellow wings. Some Black swallowtails have been showing up the past few days to make the butterfly show even better.

Angelica Angelica On the opposite side of the road from the snapping turtle was a patch of tall cow parsnips. They sport a large white cluster of tiny white flowers the size of a dinner plate on a hollow stalk six to eight feet tall. When I look very closely at the tiny white flowers, I notice a very tiny white crab spider. She seems to be having a conversation with a tiny beetle while on her walk through the flower garden.

I love the tiny, close-up world of nature. There is so much more to see when we look closely. This takes time, but sacrificing a little time helps us understand how to live in the moment. The ďmomentĒ is the only aspect of time that all living things relate to. Humans obsessively regulate time to suit their needs, but the simple act of stopping to smell a flower or listen to a songbird can put us in that timeless moment.

Naturally Yours,


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Diane from from NJ on June 25, 2011 at 09:36:10 AM
As always I enjoy reading your column. You have a knack for describing your observations in perfect detail! I agree, so many folks miss out on the everyday beauty in nature by rushing through their day.
Karen from from Rhode Island on June 23, 2011 at 11:30:37 AM
I'm reading this in my city office cubicle and feeling jealous. Thank you for the vicarious walk down the trail with you. It was enjoyable as always.
Rene from from California. (east+bay) on June 23, 2011 at 09:52:31 AM
Wonderful, the beauty of all God's creation!
Sounds like you really enjoy watching wildlife and writing about it!
Lauren from from Pittsburgh on June 23, 2011 at 09:05:08 AM
Dan, this was so beautiful to read! Thank you for writing about such an amazing day. I imagine planting in the moonlight was so peaceful.
Jan from from TN on June 22, 2011 at 10:33:26 PM
Your column is very enjoyable this week. I have a great Blue Heron which frequents my pond in the summer, and sometimes other seasons too. A couple of days ago, I was doing a little fishing, and it landed on the bank across from me, and watched me fish. After I went back to the house, I suspect it did a little fishing, too. I saw another baby Praying Mantis. This one was on the Variegated Lace Cap Hydrangea in front of the house. Guess they weathered all the storms, etc. You are right, there is always something to watch if we just take the time to do it! Happy naturing.
cheryl from from Pa. on June 22, 2011 at 07:50:42 PM
Your stories are so beautiful!They put me right there in the moment. Thank-You! I LOVE nature!
alden from from United States on June 22, 2011 at 07:23:14 PM
I planted poppy seeds this year but the ferral cats in the neighborhood keep digging them up. How can I stop this?
Loretta from from Minnesota on June 22, 2011 at 06:44:28 PM
So many opportunities to catch these highlights of the living world--it's what we love about organic farming.
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