I never grow tired of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University in Durham, NC. The 55-acre public space offers five miles of paths and walkways and is a combination of designed landscaping and natural wooded areas. Obvious as well as less obvious seating grace the grounds to provide unique views of the trees and plants, the fish and waterfowl…and the turtles.
The turtles are so silly, although they don’t mean to be. As they bask—sometimes stacked two and three high—on the rocks, they make people smile, point, and chuckle. The natural antics of these hard-shelled reptiles compel complete strangers to converse, and for a brief moment the whole world seems in harmony. Then the turtles stir, slip into the pond, and that moment of tranquility becomes a pleasant memory.