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Contemplating Turtles

Contemplating Turtles

I was shooting in the Los Angeles Arboretum a few days ago and wandered upon a group of turtles perched on top of a floating log. At first glance, turtles don’t seem like interesting subjects.¬† They don’t move much, standing in the same spot for hours at a time sun bathing and perhaps contemplating the meaning of life. I never paid much attention to them. But this time I decided to sit down nearby to observe and do a little contemplation of my own.

The first few minutes were quiet and still. They noticed my presence and we were just looking at each other in silent curiosity. Looking closely at their faces and subtle body movements, their unique personalities start to show. There was the really big turtle that lazily turned his head at me and stuck up his nose as I was initially sitting down. There was the upstart turtle that swam onto the log shortly after I arrived and proceeded to push over the other turtles and climbed onto the big turtle. There was the shy turtle on the right edge of the log who tucked his head closer into his shell each time something happened nearby.

Growing up in a big city, I was not exposed to nature until college. And it wasn’t until my 20s that I started to appreciate nature¬† — not just for its physical beauty but also for its ability to heal and strengthen our souls. Out in the open sky, the crisp mountain air and the unpaved trails is where we can go to reconnect with the natural world and the many generations of humans who lived before. Out here we can see what our ancestors saw, walk where our ancestors walked and learn lessons from nature just like they learned.

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