June: Eye to Eye

2018 seems to have been the year for critter firsts!

Indeed, I spent more time out in refuges, wildlife management areas and other natural, wild landscapes in 2018 than in many years. Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast is the reason. I loved every minute of it and look forward to more, more, more in 2019.

Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

So this common snapper was at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where we went for our Herpetofauna of Lousiana workshop, led by Dr. John Carr of the University of Louisiana Monroe. BTW, he has also co-written the definitive book on the same subject. I recommend it.

True confessions: This is not exactly a “wild encounter.” The turtle is being firmly held in the gloved hands of one of Dr. Carr’s graduate assistants, who assisted us with the field work for the workshop. It had been live trapped and was released back into the wild shortly after this photo was made.

Nevertheless, for a few minutes I was eye to eye with this awesome critter, which was not a happy camper and would have happily and ably taken off a finger that wandered too close.

My Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jacob Owensby, has written an excellent piece about the power of eye contact. He focuses on eye contact between humans and humans and their pets, and connects it to our relationship with the Divine. You can read it here. I recommend it.

I’m here to tell you, eye contact with wild critters is equally and awesomely powerful. It will change you. You will experience your kinship with all creatures in a new and compelling way. I recommend it!

Sometime in 2019, I hope along about June, I will achieve my Master Naturalist certification. One more thing to cross off the bucket list!


  1. DorothyAnne Hennessy

    Contact with nature, I believe, is our closest contact with perfection, i.e. The Divine. God bless your work and thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Dorothy. I completely agree.


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