Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time, Temperature and Turtles

Summers used to be long and leisurely but it seems they rush by faster every year. July is almost half over, today being Sandland Brother's birthday.

We had a relaxing time earlier this month on Manitoulin Island with no internet, television, newspapers or radio. Our cabin has always had a clock radio in the past but it was missing this year. I have not experienced this level of media disconnect for a long time. I called home the first couple of days and asked if the world was still around. After that, it didn't seem to matter if it was or not. I started looking at the thermometer and sky to judge the weather rather than depending on a news report. When I reviewed the stack of newspapers on our return home there was nothing missed of any importance or lasting significance.

The weather was unseasonably cool and wet with temperatures around 15C or 60F during the day and much colder at night. On the fifth day the thermometer broke 20C for the first time under sunny skies and children were in bathing suits swimming in the lake (Brrrrrrrrr!!) But the weather did not spoil our vacation and there was an abundance of birds and wildlife to see as well as many fish to catch. I would love to spend an entire summer on this island.

One evening as I explored the road that led to the camp, I came across an unusual turtle crossing the gravel throughfare from the swamp. It's neck was a beautiful yellow and it seemed to be smiling for my camera as I inspected it closely. The Blanding's turtle is considered to be threatened in Ontario and nationally. Its shell is roughly the size and shape of a bike helmet and the turtle lives to an age of 60 to 70+ years. It takes 15 to 18 years to reach maturity.

That sounds very human in development and lifespan...

The females lay their eggs in early summer and the young turtles hatch in late August or September. It is very likely that this was a female turtle looking for an ideal place to lay her eggs. The road was not a safe place crossing point at the speed the turtle moved and I would have picked it up if a car had been coming.

These turtles are now endangered due to habitat loss, road hazards and predation of their nests by racoons and skunks. Humans have degraded their wetlands, created roads and enabled the success of their predators.

These reptiles live out a human lifespan (if they are lucky) at a very slow pace. Taking time to slow the sometimes hectic pace of modern living is important in enjoying our lives in a healthy and fulfilled way. I am still operating at a post vacation turtle pace and have been slow to jump back into blogging. I still want to feel the disconnection from what others think is important for me to hear, to operate on my own body's time schedule, to be able to just sit, enjoying doing nothing in particular.

It won't last long, I am sure of that.


  1. Welcome home.

    Not even radio or newspapers? Did you at least take some parchment scrolls with you? :)

  2. I had a medium bag of summer clothes (never worn because it was too cold) and a heavy bag of old books that I like to re-read on holidays. My oldest "parchment" was a 1922 edition of a Nellie McClung novel.

  3. Welcome home. I really like the turtle with yellow neck.

  4. Welcome home Ruth. "Disconnection" time sounds heavenly really. I remember once spending a week in Jamaica, where the pace is so relaxed and slow, and when we landed at the Atlanta airport, I was so overwhelmed at the hubbub and noise. Every now and then, it's so lovely to just get away from it all.

  5. Welcome home and welcome back. When D isn't doing fire weather we do mostly live by our own clocks. No T.V. and no news other than via the internet and the Saturday Sun ... yes we do still use the computers! Sigh. D lived 2 years at a lighthouse years ago and it gave him a different perspective on life.

  6. Loved your shots of the Blanding's. We have them around here (Pelee) but I've yet to see one in the flesh (shell?). Sounds like a perfect getaway!

  7. What yoiu are describing is true relaxation.We all need to step back once in a while and slow down.

  8. A gorgeous turtle... what spectacular color!

    I love losing one's sense of time on vacation, but it makes it twice as difficult to get back in the swing of things once you come home.

  9. Ruth,

    I would also love to spend my entire summer on Manitoulin. I have never been there, but know what a beautiful spot it is. Our pastor was in charge of the camp there for years and was just appointed to one closer to home last week.

    Glad you enjoyed your time away. The photos of the turtle are awesome.


  10. It sounds heavenly. Disconnecting from media, from being told what is important in our lives is so difficult here at home.
    I've only seen a Blanding's turtle once. (Endangered in Minnesota too) They are the prettiest turtle I think.

  11. Too bad that wonderful disconnect cannot last longer. Welcome home.

  12. Turtle pace is good- we're all so rushed.

  13. Nice that you had a vacation from everything ....Slow pace is good!
    Take your time!
    Great turtle photos!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.