Frozen in time? This turtle was seen in the water at the pond at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro on the final day of 2020.The Other Half was a little bit surprised to find a skink while doing some work in her garden last weekend.

Oh, no...not another picture of a turtle...

Please read this...

A few weeks ago, way back in the final days of 2020, I shared a photograph of a turtle in this space. At the time, I figured the image would be that last one of a turtle that you folks would get to see for 2020. 

The photograph was taken at the pond at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro. As you have probably figured out by now, I pay frequent visits to the picnic grounds.

Often, I am the only person there. Especially when the weather is cold. Or really hot. Or rainy. Or snowy. Just depends.

My visits to the picnic grounds have been a part of my Thursday routine for the last few years. The visits were one resolution for a new year which I actually kept. Seemed like a good way to spend just a little bit of time outdoors during a very busy day.

The visits also give me a chance, occasionally, to spend some time chatting with Abraham Lincoln. Well, a statue of Mr. Lincoln. And, no, I don’t really chat with the statue. At least that’s the story I’m going with.

Around March or so of last year, my routine was disrupted a little bit. Seems there was a pandemic going on. Wasn’t going to last for long, though. Of course, the fact that I couldn’t go for a walk at the picnic grounds wasn’t really that big of a deal, given what some people have had to experience during the pandemic.

Still, it was nice to be able to resume the visits, just when the weather started to get warmer. That was when I could start shooting photographs with turtles in them.

I’m not quite sure why I like shooting photographs of turtles. Maybe it’s nice to see critters which just don’t seem to have any concerns in the world, other than trying to enjoy the warmth of a nice, sunny day.

Anyway, on the 10th day of the last month of the year 2020, I happened to pay a visit to the picnic grounds. Much to my surprise, I actually saw a turtle basking in the warm sunshine. 

Truth be told, maybe I should not have been surprised all that much. That’s because on December 10, 2020, the high temperature was an almost balmy 67 degrees in Union County land.

I shot some photos of the turtle, bid the critter adieu, and figured I had seen the last of these aquatic reptiles for the year. After all, smart turtles would find a snug bed of mud where they could spend the cold of winter, and then come back out when things warm up again.


On the 31st day of December, I made my last visit of 2020 to the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds. On the final day of a year that a lot of us would probably like to forget, the temperature certainly was not 67 degrees. Somewhere in the 30s, I think. 

I did my usual stroll around the pond, meandering clockwise from the main parking lot. That’s the direction I usually go. Don’t know why. Just do.

About halfway around the pond, I looked down in the water. And did a second take. Just under the surface, there it was.

Yup. A turtle.

The critter wasn’t moving. It just seemed to be suspended in the water. I took some photos. The turtle remained still. I finished my walk and headed back to the car, and the real world. 

And now, I can say with complete confidence, that on the final day of 2020, I had indeed seen the last turtle I was going to seen at the pond at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds. And, I can also say with complete confidence, that the photo you are seeing this week will be the last photo of a turtle taken by yours truly during 2020 that you will get to see. Really.

That being said, can I tell you about the lizard The Other Half met last weekend while doing some work in her garden? Just one lizard. And she didn’t see any turtles.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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