Muddy Places

I was at Swanie Slough early this morning to see if I could capture some pictures of turtles. Yesterday, I noticed the sign posted near the slough telling visitors to be aware of the Turtle Study taking place through June. If you want to learn more about the turtle study going on at the slough, follow these links:

http://www.augustana.edu/x36235.xml Muir/Turtle Research

http://www.augustana.edu/x22118.xml Low-Temp and Hatchlings

Turtles remind me of my childhood growing up near Hockersmith’s Pond. We kids often encountered painted and snapping turtles in the yard or the ditch. As a child, I wanted to make friends with the former and avoid the latter.

I didn’t know what a ‘slough’ was until I moved near the Mississippi. I guess if these muddy places existed in Southern Iowa, we just called them ponds. So this is where I begin my summer diary—in the slough.

According to www.dictionary.com a slough is “an area of soft, muddy ground; swamp or swamp like region”. Also spelled slew or slue in some places, to describe “a marshy or reedy pool, pond, inlet, backwater, or the like.”

Let’s just say, I begin my summer spiritual journey on soft, muddy ground. I wanted my first pictures to be of  turtles, but they wanted no part of my turtle study. Each turtle dove into the water as soon as I came near. I drew this frog because he seemed to be a willing model.

I thank God for muddy places.

About tobeamazed

My name is Jacqueline Perry. I am an artist and a pastor serving a congregation in the Midwest. In addition to my usual duties I lead art workshops as a way to explore lives of faith. Before I was ordained, I received an M.F.A in Painting from Boston University. I have been an art teacher and exhibited work over the years. Living on the Great Plains has awakened my love for nature. I am amazed by nature, art and people.
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6 Responses to Muddy Places

  1. This is a nice counterbalance to the slough of despond from Pilgrim’s Progress. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slough_of_Despond. It’s good to have some positive associations with a slough.

    • tobeamazed says:

      Thanks for this link, Christopher, and note about how a metaphor can carry very different meanings. Swanie Slough is a place of reconnection for me. It is like being inside a deep bowl of woodland with the odd pretty little pond and muddy area at the bottom. The slough path is named for a former campus chaplain who served Augie for 33 years (60s, 70s and 80s I believe).

  2. Pingback: The Boar Hunt and the Stinky Swamp | Tasithoughts's Weblog

  3. Carol A. Dyer says:

    Muddy places encourage us to look deeper – often rejected as vile or unclean, from microscopic to people (even ourselves) we can discover so much more. I thank God for those who were willing to look a little deeper to discover the Divine. Carol D.

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