poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘pond

rescuing a turtle

with 14 comments

On a recent drive to St. Stephen, we took the cross-country Route 785, a haul-road, recently upgraded and chip-sealed (this creates a hard, smooth pavement-like surface).  For us, it is the perfect short-cut to the Bay of Fundy coast.

Since it is so far from ‘civilization’, cars travel a little fast on this road.  Sometimes this is a peril for wild life.

Along the way, we helped a Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) in its desperate attempt to cross the road.

He was certainly suspicious of my help and my camera angle, and retreated into his shell rather than be properly photographed.

In the end, I helped him over a steep bank of gravel left by a grader, and he was on his way to the pond on his preferred side of the road.

‘Turtle-Crossing’ sign in southern Ontario

© Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

June 23, 2012 at 7:21 am

a pair of Painted Turtles

with 15 comments

We did our usual bird-watching run along the St. John River on Sunday afternoon.   We ordinarily follow the same circuit, from Oromocto, along the north side of the River, to Jemseg, crossing the River via the Gagetown Ferry, and returning on the south side of the St. John River.  This area is in central New Brunswick, east of Fredericton.

The first part of this circuit is along the old Trans Canada Highway, now Route 105.  This section follows the St. John River, through the Grand Lake Meadows, an important wetland area for New Brunswick.  Near the spot marked ‘A’, we saw lots of ducks, an Osprey eating a fish, and three other raptors (a group including hawks or eagles) too distant to identify.  Near ‘B’ is the place we often see various owls, Bald Eagles, and Moose.

From Jemseg, we take Route 715 to Lower Jemseg.  This part of the route travels above the River, through farmland.  We rarely see wildlife along this section, but the area has a rich history and has several interesting buildings, including the old church featured in my post of September 14, 2011.

From Lower Jemseg, we turn towards the Gagetown Ferry and Scovil.  This is a very interesting part of the route, snaking between wetlands and ponds.  Along this section, it is usual to spot other cars of eager birdwatchers.

a wet field near Scovil … there are two American Black Ducks in the grass to the left and two Canada Geese beyond the pond … this is the same pond where we saw a Glossy Ibis on April 23, 1988

The highlight of our trip on Sunday was a group of three Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) on a log along this last section of our route, near the spot marked ‘C’.

The turtles were sunning themselves on a log in the middle of a pond.  They have dark green, smooth shells, with bright orange markings along the edge of the shell.  The inside of the lower shell is bright yellow.  Their heads and tails are also marked with short streaks of orange and yellow.  All winter these turtles have been hibernating at the bottom of the pond.  Now awake, they will live in the pond all summer, laying eggs and feeding on aquatic insects and vegetation.

These Painted Turtles were stretching their necks out of their shells as far as possible.  They made a beautiful sight, their colorful shells mirrored in the pond water.



Painted Turtles


I study the colors

through binoculars

remember these

with my hand, my fingers

rock the fine focus

rotate the brush

pick paint from the palette


the shell, flat olive tiles, grouted

Payne’s Grey

the wrinkled foot and leg, relaxed along the log

Burnt Umber

on the tail, the neck, the head

deft strokes of Cadmium

Yellow and Orange


the head stretches, to soak in sun

and dazzles on the pond

the lower shell


refection on water


and, at the edge of the carapace

bright dabs of Orange

one part Cadmium

two parts Quinacridone

and a touch of some unknown




©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

May 8, 2012 at 8:58 am

on pond ice

with 14 comments

The days are short, reminding me of days when my son was young and I resented the brief daylight.  We left for work in the dark and arrived home after the sun set.  To spend just a little time with my son in the snow, I would turn on the outside light and play with him for a few precious minutes at the end of every day.

On weekends, we would seek out the smallest patch of ice and skate together.  Any patch of ice would do.  Some years we tried to make a small rink.  Usually, we made do with the strip of ice formed at the edge of our driveway…

Our favourite place to skate was a small hollow in the grey woods behind our house.  We dubbed it “Hoot-and-Hollow Pond” (because it was just ‘a hoot and a holler’ out back, and because we hear owls so often in the grey woods).  The pond was small, but just the right size for my son to wobble around on his first skates.

In the years since we skated there, the trees have grown thick and tall around the pond.  I went looking for it this week and found the ruin of the little bridge we built across a narrow place in the pond…

ruined bridge over Hoot-and-Hollow can see the broken boards and old nails

and ice on the little pond itself…

Hoot-and-Hollow Pond today, the water level a little lower than when we skated there



a skate on the woodland pond




brittle cracks beneath the weight

of blades, we spread our bodies thin

twirl on the delicate lift

of snowflakes drift

above the pond, gather

firs around us, lean away, bend

beneath the weight of snow, find

room to glide, the edge where white birch

cage faint light

magnify the gleam

of paper bark, frail ice

white snow and stars

resist the dark



© Jane Tims 2011

Written by jane tims

January 11, 2012 at 9:34 am

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