Tiny Ninja Turtles

This afternoon, Dan forwarded us some “blog fodder”. In the forwarded email were attached half-a-dozen photos from Ox-Bow, the Arts Institute of Chicago’s summer camp, located in Saugatuck, MI. Dan spent last summer there. Below is the text from Shanna’s forwarded email:

Attached are pictures of the burial, it is finally finished and looks fantastic! Special thanks to those of you who really pulled it together and made it happen! Along with the burial comes a special story. The very day after the burial was finished and put into place, Pauly and Mikey were working on the painting studio, and guess what little treats they found making their way down the path towards the lagoon?!?! Little baby snapping turtles! You got it, they hatched! The turtles in front of the Inn that had the special pyramid over them finally DID hatch! We found 4 all together; one was still burrowing out of the dirt in that very spot! There are pictures attached of the little troopers making their way into the leaf covered lagoon. They were coated in dirt and their eyes weren’t even open yet!

Looking at the photographs and skimming the above paragraph, I leapt to a conclusion and replied, “Did the mother turtle die?” Dan sent the following clarification:

No the Mother didn’t die, she laid eggs early in the summer quite close to the Inn, you may remember the small pyramid structure that was erected over the site to protect the eggs from cats and raccoons. The Burial is an Ox-Bow tradition that happens at the end of the summer, the weekend before closing week, there’s a big party, and a hole is dug to the depth of the height of the shortest Staff/Fellow. Each person elects to put something in, either something that represents themselves, or their summer. The hole is filled in and later a cap stone made by the staff and fellows is added, we decided to make a turtle cap stone in honor of the mother. Each person decorated one of the ceramic pieces of the shell. I’m not sure how long the tradition has been going on, but there are small capstones and markers all over, I’ve seen ones from the 30’s on campus, but the placement of each one is sort of random.

Growing up, Dan and Dave were both big fans of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. These four turtles were all named for famous Renaissance artists, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello. The last two are named for sculptors. Dan is a sculptor too. As last summer’s crop of turtles settle into the mud of Ox-Bow’s oxbow lake, for their first winter’s nap, one is left to wonder were tomorrow’s superhero turtles will come from.

2 thoughts on “Tiny Ninja Turtles

  1. After reading this post, Anne related the following story. A few weeks ago, at school, Anne came across a couple of kids arguing. One of them was loudly insisting that Raphael was the one with the orange mask. She corrected him, “No, Raphael has the red mask, R for Raphael and R for red, that’s how I remember.” Slack-jawed dumbfounded the boys just stare at her in silent stupefaction. “My boys were into the Ninja Turtles when they were your age”, she offered as an explanation. 😉

  2. We took Rey to a kid’s haircut place once, and he was not too happy. The clipper suggested he could look at a book, and they had one on turtles. He was happy, I went to find it, and then he was soooo disappointed when it turned out to be about the Ninja turtles, and not REAL turtles.

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