When I came home from the supermarket this morning and pulled into the parking lot, the first thing I noticed was that the crows and blue jays were making no end of a fuss, up there in the treetops. The next thing I saw was… a fox. That’s what had them so upset.
This was the second time I’d seen the fox in the past few days, and many of my neighbors have seen it, too. Maybe you live in a place where seeing a fox is no big deal; but here in our New Jersey suburb, it is. Our wildlife is mostly squirrels, possums, and birds, with the odd chipmunk thrown in. Never foxes.
However, there he was, crossing the parking lot, large as life. Okay, foxes are pretty good at adapting to human-dominated environments. Even so, I’ve lived here all my life and never seen a fox until now. And there have been deer around, too.
I don’t know why this should be. I’m waiting for more information. But my wife thinks there’s been so much unwelcome building around here, it’s driven the animals out of their hiding places–by removing those places and paving them over. I hope that’s not the reason, but it could be.
I like to think the wildlife is coming back because God has something better in mind for us than anything we’ve thought of by ourselves.
Before we move on to any demoralizing nooze, here’s Mr. Nature with a safari to the ocean floor in search of sea spiders. Please feel free to ignore the cutesy narration.
Very few of this have ever seen one of these critters, and most of us have probably not heard of them. Which is odd, because there are hundreds of species of sea spiders and they’re found world-wide in both deep and shallow water. But as most of them are very small and quiet, it would be easy not to notice them.
I’ve been fascinated by these creatures for a long time. How can you not be fascinated by an animal whose vital organs are in its legs because there’s no room for them in its body?
Fap to the evolution fairy tale. What hath God wrought!
Jambo! Mr. Nature here; and today our safari takes us to South and Central America in search of the invisible–well, almost invisible–glasswing butterfly. I’d never heard of them until today. But God’s Creation is so vast, no one will ever know the whole length and breadth of it.
These butterflies have transparent wings, which help them elude predators. Even the caterpillars are partially transparent. We do see color around the edges of the wings; but hey, if it didn’t work, the glasswings wouldn’t be here.
Transparency turns up in other animals, too. I used to go to our local pet store and watch in fascination the “glass catfish” swimming back and forth. Their skin and muscles are transparent and you can see their bones.
As Rev. D. James Kennedy used to say, “Ain’t chance grand?”
I heard this, faintly, as I was posting something else; and then nothing would do but to hear it clearly: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. Music by Beethoven, sung by the Mennonite Hour Singers–and sets by God the Father. The combination never fails to bring me close to tears of joy.
Our God is an awesome God, and the wicked shall not conquer.
I just can’t see how anyone can observe nature and not believe in its Creator.
Behold the ocean sunfish! I was totally intrigued by this creature, when I became old enough to page through books and magazines and at least look at the pictures. It didn’t look at all like any other fish! I mean, come on–it’s like a great big head without a body.
But look at it in its natural habitat. Here it works just fine. Here it moves gracefully.
And then a platoon of little fish come along to clean the parasites off its skin!
“Evolved by blind chance–” Uh-huh. But it’s not chance that’s blind.
I admit I’m not much for spiders, but I’ve always had a soft spot for these zebra jumping spiders–maybe because I wanted to be a zebra when I grew up, and look how close these little spiders have come to doing that.
Unlike other spiders, jumping spiders can actually see what’s going on around them. While I was writing yesterday, I discovered one of these little guys crawling around on my knee. It was easy to induce him to climb onto my hand and then jump somewhere else. He must’ve liked me because he kept coming back for more. So I played with the spider for a minute or two before finally releasing him onto the ground.
But I insist I’m not eccentric–just enjoying some of God’s stuff. And trying to manage a nooze-free weekend.
I was sitting outside this afternoon, writing my Newswithviews column for the week–a column about my new book, His Mercy Endureth Forever, and my Bell Mountain series in general.
I was just finishing the work when I chanced to look up: and what did I see?
A beautiful, graceful, full-grown deer trotting across the yard, only 30 or 40 feet away from my chair. She vanished around the corner of the house next door, and when I walked over to see where she was headed, I saw no sign of her. I don’t know where she went.
I took it as a sign that God was nigh, and He wanted me to know that: for which I give Him thanks.
Jambo, Mr. Nature here–and this is wild: how do you tell whether a living thing is an animal or a plant?
There are more than 900 species of slime molds, they’re found all over–even inside your air conditioner, if the drain gets blocked. They mostly live as single-celled organisms; but when food is scarce, they can clump themselves together and function as a multi-celled organism.
They have neither brains nor nervous systems: nevertheless, slime molds can remember, and some studies suggest they can even learn, modifying their behavior in light of past experience. Yeesh, did I say “experience”? Well, yeah: because that’s apparently what’s going on with them–although just how they do it, no one knows.
Currently biologists have decided that slime molds are not plants but rather a kind of amoeba. The smart kind that remembers things. Go figure.
Just when we think we’ve got Creation figured out, God likes to tantalize us with a mystery like this.
Jambo! Mr. Nature here–and let’s go on safari to the South American rain forest and see the flying frogs.
These tree frogs live in the treetops and have the ability to use the webbing in their hands and feet as a kind of parachute, which allows them to make death-defying leaps and not get hurt. It’s as good a way as any to escape the attentions of the tree boa.
See what God the Designer can do with small changes in the basic format of an animal. Frogs are frogs, easily recognized; but with a little tweaking here and there, the same basic frog design can be adapted to just about any environment. You won’t find them on the ice-cap and you won’t find them in salt water; but they’re just about everywhere else. Even deserts.