Photography & video by Jeremy Jeziorski

Hello, Summer

The solstice is upon us. Well, it was yesterday. Or two days ago. Or maybe seven months ago. I have no idea when you're reading this, really. So yeah.

I've been pretty good at getting out and doing my typical 2-mile-or-so hike on the first day of each season for the past few years. So I made a point to get out before the heat rose above 90 yesterday.

Wandered around Amelia Pond here in Corning on the side I never walk, and thought I saw a large turtle shell ahead.

Totally a turtle.

A snapping turtle, to be specific. Shell about 16 inches across. Their fancy science name is Chelydra serpentina. How cool is that? Also, turns out it's the official reptile of New York state. They can live up to 30 years or so.

She wasn't moving much, so I tapped her shell. Quickly found out she was doing just fine. Actually, probably resting from just having finished digging this nest. I'd wandered up just in time to see her lay her whole clutch (it's a clutch, right?) of eggs, and bury it before the heat started getting to me and I headed back into the shade of the trees.

Zooming in, you can see little flowers growing on her shell. Reminded me of the trees on Morla from the Neverending Story. Though I think she's a tortoise.

Anyway. Here's a video and the photos. She didn't seem super excited that I was there. But she also didn't snap at me when I got entirely too close.

Be respectful of nature out there, folks. And happy summer.