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The first rain of the year has come. It is a fierce, howling storm from the south. To celebrate the end of another fire season I take the dogs for a hike in the canyon. Sheltered from the worst of the wind they are happy and chase each other in tight round circles. While they’re distracting themselves I notice a shiny rock by the trail that turns out to be a young pond turtle. It’s drawn into it’s shell, probably frightened by the dogs. I drop behind it and wait. Slowly, four legs and a head emerge. Satisfied that it’s alive, I back away. Like the turtle, I plod up the canyon in the warm, soft-plopping rain.

Southwestern pond turtle

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