Imago resting on the wicker–
I thought him a leaf until he
flickered and showed his true self.

Borning or dying? Two weeks he lives;
Red cherry-stained wings forgive
His dark Instar larval past

when he thieved oak and wild cherry leaves.
Io carries proof of redemption–
the universe on his wings.

The Visitor

Just a few weeks ago I mentioned the opossum who knocked on our front door in the middle of the night. I didn’t get a snapshot of the possum, but I did get one of our latest front door visitor.

Chelydra Serpentina

Surprised? We certainly were. Just for the record, the closest body of water to the cottage is a very small ephemeral spring pond covered in green slime, even in the spring, about 600 yards down the hill. Through brush, briars, and scrubby bushes, which, in all likelihood matters not to a turtle. But still, it seems very far away.

She spent the day in the yard, as Mr. H.C. said, Just chillin’. I thought perhaps she’d been hit by a car; her shell didn’t look all that new or shiny. There were actually quite a few knicks and dents, but neither of us tried to get too close. We made sure the cat spent the day inside.

Then as we were eating dinner, she thought to come a little closer. Perhaps she liked the smell of cooked chicken? Mr. H.C. threw her some apple slices, which she disdained. We left by the door on the other side of the yard, and when we returned two hours later, she was gone.

We don’t really know that she was a she-turtle; however, our research implied that female snapping turtles range far and wide from mid-May to mid-June looking for suitable egg-laying spots. Wikipedia says it is quite common to find them far away from water — the females especially are looking for a sandy spot for easy digging. Sadly, she is also far away from any sandy soil here in the land of Greene County clay. Perhaps if she finds that little watering hole, the woodsy litter around it will be good for depositing a clutch of snapping turtle eggs.

There’s a wonderful African Anansi story (Anansi and the Turtle) which I used to tell to during story times: Turtle came to eat at Anansi’s house and he wouldn’t let her in because her feet were muddy. So she lumbered down to the stream to wash them, but by the time she got back to Anansi’s house her feet were muddy again. Yes, her feet definitely don’t look clean enough to come in the house. Hmmm… this sounds like it might be a story post with photos for some other time….

The Catalpa Forest

the catalpa tree in the side yard
catalpa tree and sunset
A late bloomer,
She wears lace in June
on her sunlit green dress

Luxuriously, she gives with abandon all she has —
blossoms, twigs, branches, seeds, leaves…

The birds and the wind
deposit her bean pod necklaces
far away at the grassy edge of the hillside. 

Every spring there is a new little tree.
Or three.
The catalpa forest grows
and the wind is sweet with the orchid blooms.

Her waist is not small nor dainty,
Eleven feet around,
No arms could encircle her.

Green lichen covers her bark,
And winter shows her true form
of gnarled, aged branches.

Birds and bees love her,
and so does the hammock.

The view is unforgettable
on a June Sunday afternoon.
Birdsong and breeze and the billowy green
bring gentle rest to the needy soul.

Reblogged this from June a couple of years ago….