Mississippi River Sunset and Misguided Turtle Hatchlings

We took a walk at a place where the river mysteriously curves, making a sunset over the water from the Iowa side. It symbolized the end of our summer, the last week-day before school begins again.


(This time uniquely…in the midst of a pandemic). We chose “hybrid” learning, technically defining us as both a public-school and home-school family.


After the sun dipped behind the river and lit the sky with brilliant pinks and purples, we noticed strange, snake-like tracks on the sand. Circling around to determine who made the marks, we began to feel jumpy. What if one of us were to trip over a snake? And then, we spotted a lone turtle hatchling making its way across the sand.


The five of us hovered over it, and our hearts cooed at the precious sight. We watched him crawl and struggle. When we got too close, his head disappeared inside his shell.

But wait…the tracks all led away from the water and into the woods. I didn’t know much about baby turtles, but shouldn’t he be looking for the river?


That night, we came home and googled turtles to identify and to tell each other, and to know. Our guess of snapping-turtle, replaced itself with an actual name: Northern Map Turtle. Now we knew.


I like to know things…When will COVID-19 be over and gone? Will school be safe? What about church and all the things planned for this fall? And will my children make good decisions as they grow?


Reflecting on it reminded me of the one thing I do know.


In Isaiah 45:22 God says, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”


When that was written, the people hoped and waited for a Savior, but now, today, we know Jesus.


I know him more every time I open my Bible, spend time reflecting and praying, and when I’m with my local church family… (in-person, or online).


The picture of the misguided turtle heading away from the water stays imprinted on my mind. Did he need rescuing? I do. My source: the living-water, Jesus. May I always go to him every day, the one who gives hope and life, and saves.

Writing Prompt: We named the little turtle, "Rufus," as we watched him. The name came to mind from the book, The Moffats, (by Eleanor Estes) as Rufus was the littlest of the family, and the most spirited.

In one paragraph, write from Rufus' point of view, about how he might have felt upon finally reaching the water. After crawling through the hot sand, and overcoming the danger of being lost or eaten by a swooping gull, what would Rufus the turtle say about his first swim?

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