Friday, May 22, 2009

World Turtle Day: Time for Basking

Something to tweet about: the long slow view. Today is World Turtle Day, acknowledged by Jaime Sweeney, owner of Wandering Turtle Art Gallery and Gifts here in Bloomington. If you follow her link you'll find more pieces by artist Brian Gordy, such as this wonderful watercolor, In the Cool Creek. They are from his series "Basking: Reflections on the Turtle."

Here are some words from the artist:

Turtles as subjects drag a deep trough of content with them. Ancient animals dating back some 200 million years, turtles have survived without any major evolutionary reworking. They exist in countless legends throughout the history of folklore and mythology, showing up in pictographs and iconography from some of the earliest evidence of the existence of humankind. Today, however, we must acknowledge that turtle populations across the world are struggling… we have found a way to compromise the existence of this impressive example of survivorship. In Indiana alone, 6 of the 18 species found here are listed as state endangered, while nearly all are threatened in some capacity.

My paintings pay homage to the distinct, original and effective design of the turtle, but they also are intended as a warning shot fired at the unnecessary destruction and segmenting of our turtle habitats.

Gordy says this about the beautiful shells of the turtles: ..the differences between the shiny purple-black shell of a Painted Turtle, the serrated knobby shell of a Map Turtle, and the leathery smoothness of a Spiny Softshell Turtle shell are quite profound.

Earlier this past week, at John Caddy's website Morning Earth, the photo above of a painted turtle, with this poem in her honor:

A painted turtle carries eggs
to plant in warm sand
in this her time,
as mother did,
and grandmother,

and her great- and greats-

stretched back deep
into the spiral dark

long before the dinosaurs.
Her features are fixed, but
if we see expression there,
it’s of a mother implacable

knowing none of the above
but knowing this is her time.

You can subscribe to a daily poem and photo from Morning Earth, or find them posted at the website. Take some time today to bask in the sun, paying homage to the turtle!

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