It’s been raining every day this week, which has really slowed the writing of my new book. But at least I was able to make one artistic decision about it.
I’m going with the oversized prehistoric cave hyenas. I can’t provide them with an Ice Age, but to make up for that, I’ve provided them with dangerous savages who worship them as holy.
Today’s spotted hyenas of Africa are pretty nasty, but these put them to shame. Hey, they ate mammoths and rhinoceroses.
Now if only this rain would stop, I could get down to business.
P.S.–I’m calling it His Mercy Endureth Forever. My wife and my editor like that title, so there it is.
Hi, Mr. Nature here–and I never knew until now that rhinos could romp.
These are one-horned Indian rhinos as the Buffalo Zoo, playing in the snow. They are a long way from home, and they love the snow. I’ve known Indian people who love the snow.
What I love is the way God’s stuff works.
You want to know how I became Mr. Nature? Mark Trail color comics in the Sunday papers, that’s how! I never missed ’em.
During the week, the daily Mark Trail comic strip in black and white concerned itself with story lines. I can’t say I remember any of those. The real action was on Sunday, when the story was set aside and Mark Trail discoursed on spiders, lizards, birds, butterflies, rodents, and every other kind of animal you could think of. How else does a kid find out about the four-eyed fish, the archerfish, the chuckwalla (that’s a lizard, for us Eastern folks), ants “milking” aphids like miniature cows, and all sorts of other cool stuff? And the artwork was superb!
God’s creation is an inexhaustible source of inspiration, and it’ll last you all your life–as long as you don’t let other aspects of our benighted pop culture dry up your brain.
I don’t know what it’s like in other states, but here in New Jersey, about this time of year, we get pollen galore. I mean, you come out every morning to find a layer of green dust all over your car.
Watch what happens when the bulldozer bumps into this pollen-laden tree in Millville. If that driver has allergies, he’s a dead man.
No, not a diamondback rattlesnake! A diamondback terrapin–one of the best little turtles in the world. Tame, friendly, lots of personality: well, sure, all turtles are wonderful. But these are kind of hard to get, and that makes them special.
In my turtle tank, as a boy, I had my diamondback (very similar to the one in the video), a painted turtle, a small snapping turtle, and a tiny musk turtle the size of a nickel. I always fed them all by hand, and they liked that.
One night I left their tank outside and it overflowed during an unexpected rainstorm–and all my turtles were gone.
Would you believe it? Every single one of them made its way back. Snappers are pretty good on land, and it took mine two weeks to come home: he must have wandered very far afield. But they all came home. Who would’ve thought it?
Warning: This is no one’s idea of a cozy-cuddly critter.
When I was a kid and read about the ant lion in a Mark Trail comic strip, color comics in the Sunday morning paper, I was all over the playground trying to find one. I didn’t understand how small these are, which would make them hard to find, so to this day I’ve never seen one, although they live all over North America.
The ant lion is the larva of the inoffensive flying doodlebug. It makes a cone-shaped hole in fine sand, the finer the better, hides itself at the bottom, and waits for some hapless ant to fall in. Because the sand is so fine, it’s just about impossible for the prey to escape before the ant lion grabs it and eats it. The ant lion is a mean-looking bug, and if it were the size of an alligator, we’d all have nightmares over it. But it’s only about half an inch long, so no fear.
Since the fall of Adam, God has allowed predation in His world. We are promised that will change, when He redeems Creation. Until then, keep the faith.
Just so you don’t get too scared, here is the harmless adult doodlebug.
… he’d’ve been this guy!
Hi, everybody, Mr. Nature here. Susan found this critter for us, the peacock spider from Australia. And what he’s doing is a courtship display. How it works out for him will be revealed at the end of the video.
These are jumping spiders, as you can tell by the large eyes: and there’d be no point to all that color if the female spider couldn’t appreciate it. They’re really quite small, although under certain circumstances the males grow to the size of a grizzly bear and pose a threat to public safety.
(Did I getcha with that last sentence?)
Dang, nothing goes right for our colleges and looniversities, these days.
The graduation ceremony at Pepperdine University, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, was disrupted recently when a couple of pelicans decided to land in the middle of it (http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/04/30/pelican-graduation-pepperdine/): the real world asserting itself, as it were. One of the birds seemed inclined to stay, and resisted efforts to shoo him off. He managed to nip somebody, while he was at it.
You have to admit it broke up the tedium of the graduation exercise. The crowd went wild over it. We are happy to report that no panic ensued: people are not so far gone that they’re going to be freaked out by a couple of pelicans. Everybody seemed to enjoy the interruption. No one suggested emergency counseling for the graduates.
No one that we know of, at least.
After the personal news I just got, I’m not up for taking on the daily chronicle of my country’s demise. So a bit of God’s stuff, instead: the audacious jumping spider.
I don’t know why they call these critters “audacious.” The ones in our garden are very quick to hide when they see you coming.