My eyes ripped from the trail. Over to my right just a dozen feet off the trail was the unmistakable shape of a turtle shell. It was alive and lumbering away from any human encounters. He was in for a gentle one.
I dismounted my bicycle and parked it against a tree. My trusty I-phone was handy and I prepared it to snap a photo. There is something amazing about these slow-moving amphibians. Their shape and color give them some camouflage but not enough when they are outside of the water.
He must have felt me coming. This character did not know if I was a threat so he lowered his shell to the ground and retracted his feet. His head sank into the shell too. Nothing but God’s designed armor was left for this humanoid threat.
My I-phone preserved several shots in its digital memory. The smile on my countenance was long-lasting. It was just a matter of moments that I had looked away to review my photos. When I looked up the terrapin was gone. Scanning the landscape, this “slow” guy had managed to move away over 30 feet. What a mover this guy is.
At the turn around point of my ride was a sight hidden behind a hedge of bushes and trees. Locked behind a large gate and barbed wire were several structures that looked like an old western town. There was a wooden clap board church, a general store and and two homes. It was a historically preserved town of Barker.
In its heyday during the Railroad’s servicing of the cattle ranches, this was a bustling little town of over 80 people. These fine folks of Americana actually had two churches. No doubt one was the church that people went to for worship. The other building was the church that they used to go to.
It was time to go home. There were a lot of miles on the return trip. The heat was beginning to suck out my final ounces of energy. It was time for a rest.
On a park bench I let my muscles rest. I was surrounded by the woods of the George H. Bush Bike and Hike Park trail. It was scenic, beautiful and relaxing. Time to soak it all in and revive my spirit.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography