It was a gorgeous day, full of sun and great breezes, warm at 76F. The first day of the year with temperatures in the 70′s. There were very few clouds in the sky, quite different from the rainy and densely cloud-filled skies of late.
It was a day to be outside and soak up the sun.
That’s exactly what this turtle was doing, sunning itself to raise it’s body temperature. Turtles are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature takes on the same temperature of the surrounding environment, otherwise known, as “cold blooded” I see turtles and other reptiles, such as alligators, out sunning themselves when we visit the southern coastal United States. This is the first in a long while that I’ve seen of a sunning turtle in my native State of Illinois.
I was walking along the grass trail in the Ostermeier Prairie Center portion of Lincoln Memorial Gardens. Walking all the way around both the Prairie Center and the outer edge of the garden is a tad over 3 miles, a good hike for me. Straight ahead of me I spied this turtle in my path. Had I not been looking ahead for obstacles or other potential hazards, I may have stepped on the poor beast. Likely, its shell would have protected it and sent me sprawling on the grass.
Did you know that elderly turtles, who can live to well beyond human lifespan, have no evidence of age in their internal organs? There’s no difference in a young adult turtle’s organs and one that’s a hundred years old. Researchers are studying the turtle genome for hints to their longevity.
I went on with my walk, and the turtle kept warming up. I imagine we both enjoyed the sun today.
This portion of the trail runs for 5.8 miles, starting within several hundred yards from my house, in Stuart Park, and ending in Centennial Park on the far south west side of town. Like much of the area farm lands, it’s a mostly flat stretch, having been built on the roadbed of abandoned railroad tracks. For runners, walkers, those on bicycles, roller-bladers and others seeking a place to stretch their legs, it’s a great resource.
Spring shows here, as the new green growth is in full force on the trees and shrubs. The strong shadows and the look that the trail has of going off into infinity is what made me stop and capture this image. I did this several times along the walk that day.
There’s always something to see when your open to looking.
I was assisting my sister and her fellow kindergarten teacher by taking portraits of the children in their care for an event. It’s called an Elegant Event. Think Prom for 5 year olds. The teachers use it to teach manners, counting money and making change, dancing and poise. It’s more fun that it sounds. I take individual and “couple” portraits in the early morning, and stay around to document the entrance parade, where the boy’s (some doing double duty) pull out the chair for their partner. Then comes the waitstaff (parents) who present a “menu” of items with appetizers and main courses (carrots, grapes, peanut-butter & jelly sandwiches, and ice cream). A before dinner drink in a champagne glass of soda with a cherry in it is served, toasts are made, orders are taken and served, and dinner talk ensues.
After the ice cream is finished, it’s time to dance! Partnered up by the teacher, including one girl with teacher, the dance begins. Changing partners, dancing with their parent, group dancing, it all goes a bit silly during the dance. At the end, the gentleman bow and the ladies curtsy and thank their partners.
So why the crazy look?
Well, after I was done with the 2nd classroom of portraits, as my sister was leading her group away, I got a wild notion. “Hey, I didn’t get my picture taken! Trish, come take my picture, please” As she came over, I threw on the pink feathered boa that is one of the props used, along with the top hat and a blue sequined bow tie which I put on the hat and got into position. I had to squat down to get in the frame – I hadn’t change the orientation from the little folk position – but Trish got the look.
When I say late night, I mean 1AM or later. These folks are dedicated.
See those three hanging baskets of flowers and ribbon? There’s a small space between the ceiling you see and the roof. Our head custodian crawls around up there in the days before Good Friday, to prepare for installing the decorations. That night, he’s up there, making sure that the decorations are sure and secure. Many hands make light work, but in this case, there’s a lot of sweat equity that pours out before the Easter Vigil reveals the beauty of the decorated sanctuary.
In the foreground is the baptismal font. I like how it leads your eye to the alter and the cross and icons against the far wall above the altar.
Last year was wide ribbons of pastel colors, like angel’s wings, swooping down from the ceiling. This year, the three hanging floral baskets remind me of the Trinity: God The Father, The Risen Christ, and The Holy Spirit.
Thank you, to all who added to the effort in decorating St. Agnes Church for this Easter Season. I’m sure many spirits are filled with joy as they enter each week. All thanks to you.
Simmons Cancer Center is part of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The center is community-based patient care, research, education and outreach program established to improve cancer care.
Anything to rid our planet of this awful disease that affects the lives of so many.
The pink tulips are so inspiring.
I caught a pretty good sky today as well.
The Taylorville Courthouse or, more accurately the Christian County Courthouse, found on the main square in Taylorville, Illinois. The county is in the central part of the State. It contains the cities of Assumption, Pana and Taylorville, as well as the Villages of Bulpitt, Edinburg,. Harvel, Jeisyville, Kincaid, Morrisonville, Mount Auburn, Moweaqua, Owaneco, Palmer, Stonington and Tovey.
There’s a rich history in this part of the State of Illinois. Abraham Lincoln trod these parts during his days as a surveyor, then country lawyer. There are “Looking for Lincoln” informational waysides that dot the area to help point out his connection to the county.
Good people are found everywhere, and there’s no exception in this county. Surrounded by farmland, the closeness to the State Capitol of Springfield, makes this town a popular rural spot for those who make the short drive to work in the big city.
They have a right nice court house too.