The painted turtles vanish
Into a ripple
Lacquered forms stacked haphazardly upon the sunken branch, the elegantly domed reptiles rested contently in the last rays of the late afternoon sunlight. Piled together in an assortment of different sizes, their gold streaked heads swiveled to study my approaching form upon the waters edge. Turning away to observe a fussing chickadee, I heard a brief almost ceramic clatter from across the pond. When I quickly glanced back at the submerged tree limb it was empty, with one deep ripple spreading from its edge.