Tag Archives: God’s stuff

Mr. Nature: The Biggest Dinosaur

Hi, Mr. Nature here–with what may be the biggest dinosaur known so far: Argentinosaurus.

As paleontologists fan out into territories untouched by earlier fossil-hunters, they find cooler and cooler dinosaurs. Argentinosaurus was published in 1993 and is called by Wikipedia “the largest dinosaur known from uncontroversial evidence.” Which means its title is only temporary, pending further study and new discoveries. It is estimated, from incomplete remains, to have been about 100 feet long and weighed about 100 tons. Give or take a few.

Now that’s big!

The video gives you an idea what this creature was like. It is based on speculation, and study of the bones, comparison with similar dinosaurs, etc. Please feel free to ignore the evolution chatter in the narration. I always do.

Bob Bakker–the scientist who, more than any other, gave the world the concept of dinosaurs as lively, warm-blooded, reasonably intelligent animals–once told me that one of the things he enjoys about dinosaurs is thinking about the pleasure God must have had in creating them. Yes, I like to think about that, too.

No one has seen a living dinosaur. We can never be sure that our reconstructions of them and their world are entirely on target. I love them because they fill me with a sense of awe: “What hath God wrought!”

As far as we know, dinosaurs no longer exist on earth. But God has the entire universe at His disposal, in which to do His pleasure. In speaking of these creatures, it’s a good idea to leave absolute certainty behind.

Admire God’s handiwork, and wonder.


God is Nigh

Image result for images of old dogwood tree

Our ancient dogwood tree has just come into flower on this Easter morning. It always did have a fine sense of timing.

We’ve been here 40 years, but the tree was here first. Dogwoods can live up to 80 years, says Mr. Nature; but we don’t know when this tree was planted.

Even more remarkable, on the very same day, our ancient tulip has bloomed. Tulips live for 20 years, sometimes a little more. But this, too, was here when we moved in. It used to burst forth into one spectacular, bright red flower. Now it has four instead of one. We hope the squirrels don’t eat the flowers, as used to be their custom. They left it alone last year.

These (even the squirrels) are God’s handiwork. He imagined them, and then created them. They are here because He put them here. Their beauty is one of His countless gifts to us.

But even more than beauty, the dogwood and the tulip, and all the rest of God’s creation, have something important to tell us: God is nigh. Always.


A Welcome Weed

Image result for dead nettle

The first plant to come up in my wife’s little garden, this year and last year, is the purple deadnettle.

Hi, Mr. Nature here–and it’s called the “dead” nettle because it doesn’t have a sting like the real nettle. It’s a member of the mint family, memorable for its delicate purple flowers and its leaves that are arranged like a stack of dishes. It grows all over the place, around here.

Bob Bakker–the scientist who, more than anybody else, popularized the concept of warm-blooded, active dinosaurs–once told me one of the things that most draws him to God is the self-evident delight which the Creator takes in His creation. I agree! Even this fallen world, the Father stocks with beauty. Even the weeds!

I was happy when I read that a lot of people have come to appreciate the deadnettle for its beauty and are now planting it on purpose, usually as a border for a garden, and because it so delights our eyes.

Give thanks for the beauty of God’s handiwork: it tells us something good about its Maker.


The Giant Dormouse

HImage result for images of giant dormice

Hi, Mr. Nature here–with the giant dormouse. It’s closely related to the little sleepy dormouse you know from Alice in Wonderland. But these dormice were the size of large rats, lived on islands in the Mediterranean (Majorca, Minorca, and Malta), and are now extinct.

These animals are an example of the rational order of God’s creation, as seen in island life.

On Mediterranean islands long ago, we find animals that are usually very large, such as elephants and hippos, scaled down to a size more easily accommodated by the island. But then we find animals that are normally very small, like dormice, grown large when they live on islands and predators are not abundant. Up in the Russian Arctic, Wrangel Island had pygmy woolly mammoths that stuck around until sometime around 2000 B.C.

Island ecosystems are fascinating, but also fragile. The giant lemurs of Madagascar, and the even more gigantic moas (birds bigger than grown men) of New Zealand are no more, thanks to humans, dogs, and cats. And that, scientists think, is what happened to the giant dormice.


A Cozy Little Snake

Hi, Mr. Nature here–with an animal that possibly lives in your own back yard without your ever having seen it: DeKay’s snake, aka the brown snake.

I know, I know, quite a few of you are afraid of snakes. But these are very small, totally harmless, and of a very meek temperament: I’ve caught many of them by hand, and not one has ever tried to bite me. Anyhow, they couldn’t hurt you if they wanted to, and they seem to know it. Most of them, when caught and handled, calm down in a matter of seconds. They used to be pretty common in my neighborhood, but what with the perpetual war on nature that goes on in New Jersey, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen one. I miss them.

These little snakes live in leaf litter, where their small size and generally brown or greyish coloration helps them blend into the background. They eat bugs and slugs and grubs, and the occasional earthworm–in fact, they eat a lot of things that any gardener would want them to eat.

Again, they never try to bite when you pick them up. No self-respecting Northern water snake would ever let you get away with that. DeKay’s snake is not a very exciting snake–which is the way I like them.

So there you have it, more of God’s stuff–a little animal that’s pretty to look at, easy to handle, and does no harm whatsoever. It deserves the right to go about its peaceful little business unmolested.


Today’s Hymn, ‘This Is My Father’s World’

Here the sun is shining brightly on a smooth blanket of pure white snow, under an azure sky streaked with cottony clouds: this is my Father’s world.

I’ve been posting a hymn every day now for a year–or is it nearer two years?–and it seems to be that I’m more moved by them, emotionally, instead of less  I find the sky and the snow more moving, too, along with everything else out there: my Father’s handiwork, all of which speaks softly, “God is nigh.” And I know they speak truth: I can feel it.

You feel it, too, don’t you? And if only we knew how to express it!


Sanity Break: Enterprising Critters

Okay, I think I’ve got it figured out. Cats will attempt to do the improbable, and sometimes succeed. Dogs will attempt to do the impossible, and seem not to care whether they succeed or not. And birds like to show off.

You’ve gotta love the God who created thee. (Gee, I meant to write “these,” but somehow it comes out better as “thee.”)


God’s Stuff: A Cozy Bat

Hi, Mr. Nature here–and this is a baby fruit bat getting petted, and loving it.

You don’t think of bats as creatures that will respond to affection, but obviously they do. I think you can say that of most animals. And I think that tells us something about God’s Creation, and our own place in it. Another kind of animal, under unusual circumstances, might form a bond with a bat. But only a human being, for all our faults, will seek out a bat for that very purpose.

Incidentally, the oldest fossil bat ever discovered was already a full-blown bat, rather like the little guy in the video. Darwin himself worried that his theory would fall apart if no fossils were discovered of any animal on its way to evolving into a bat. His followers are not that honest.


Sanity Break: Your Pet Mouse Loves You

It’s a grey, dreary, drizzly day today; and as I enjoyed my cigar outside, I thought of a pet I had many years ago. A mouse.

Her name was Sleepy, and she was about the lovingest little creature you ever saw. Her babies took advantage of her, mobbing her for nursing well after they were too big to need it anymore. She used to climb up onto the water bottle and chatter at them.

I used to take her downstairs, lie down on the floor, and let her run around the living room. She would run a little ways and then run back to me, a little farther each time, until she finally made it to the wall–but always back to Daddy. I took it as a lesson in prayer: make a lot of little prayers during the course of the day, just to maintain my connection to my Father in Heaven.

Mice make wonderful pets, they’re incredibly intelligent; but I don’t keep them anymore because we have two cats. Besides which, a mouse will only live for two years or so, and it breaks your heart to lose one.

True, wild mice invading your granary, that’s not good. But God has also created them with loving hearts–and that’s another thing we never would have thought of, in His place.


God Has Many Ways of Loving Us

For those who haven’t seen this video, which Linda has shared with us in a comment, or who can’t get the link to work, here it is for everybody.

Watch the baby’s smile unfold like a flower. Seriously–if you were creating the heavens and the earth, in God’s place, would you have ever thought of giving us animals to love, that love us in return? How many eons would have drifted by, before we thought of that? But God did!

That kitten’s love, and God’s love, will bless that baby all his life.


%d bloggers like this: