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Archive for June 7th, 2011

How Hot WAS it?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Does anyone remember the Johnny Carson Tonight Show? Johnny would say “It was SO hot today…” and Ed McMahon would dutifully ask “How hot WAS it, Johnny?” Then would come a punch line.

Here is my punch line, in the form of a photo:

For my metric friends, this translates to 30.2C inside and 40C outside. To be fair, this thermometer tends to read about 2 degrees high most of the time. I do know that it was 91F (32.7C) according to the National Weather Service, at around 7pm.

I walk with friend Cynthia many weeks, and today we decided walking was unwise. The sun was fierce, there were no clouds and no wind. I brought us both iced tea to drink and we sat on the bank of the Grand River not far from the dam and the Fish Ladder.

We had been at that same spot last week. It looks as though the river has dropped from 1-2 feet since last week, just an amazing change in water level.

On the way to the park, we saw a blue heron overhead. They are so amazing, so prehistoric and noble.

On the bank of the river, I heard something splash as we sat down. I guessed it was a turtle choosing to hide from us. Once upon a time I learned a lot about turtles, and this turned out useful today.

As we were chatting, I saw this tiny bit of brown stick out of the water. It looked like a branch, but it was not. May I introduce my wild friend?

Can you see him? Here’s a close up.

Another prehistoric-looking natural being, a snapping turtle (and a big one, at that). There was one more turtle we saw peek out very briefly. It had a long, skinny tube-like nose. It certainly was a soft-shelled turtle of some sort. I was excited because I saw it, and because I knew what it was.

There was a time when my life was so chaotic that I did not notice nature. Now I’m seeing birds of prey sitting still in trees by the side of the highway. It is wonderful to relax into my surroundings enough to observe.

We felt as though our hot day on the bank of the river, was a tiny vacation. I am SO excited I actually got a good photo of the one beast… cool, huh? Nature is its own art, and a chance snapshot of a moving, wild target is a very exciting find.