Hi, Mr. Nature here, with yet another zoological head-scratcher: the seals of Lake Baikal.
So what’s the mystery? They’re just another species of seal, right? Ah! But consider where Lake Baikal is–in the middle of Siberia, north of Mongolia. In fact, it contains more fresh water than any other lake in the world, and has no outlet–repeat, no outlet–to the sea, which is hundreds of miles away. And these are the only exclusively fresh-water seals in the world.
How did they get there? It’s not like seals are well-equipped to travel overland for any distance. It’s hard enough for people to get there from the sea, let alone seals. And yet there they are, perhaps as many as 100,000 of them. How in the world did seals wind up in Lake Baikal?
God’s creation is more complex than we will ever know, and it will never run out of hard questions to pose us as we study it.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a mysterious animal–the two iguana species of the Fiji Islands. The one in the picture is a male banded iguana.
What’s so mysterious about them? Well, members of the iguana family are almost exclusively New World lizards–so what are they doing in Fiji, thousands of miles away from the iguana homeland? On islands, no less, with the Pacific Ocean in the way? They’re really quite similar to American iguanas in most respects. But it would be hard for them to wind up much farther away from where you’d think they belong.
How did they get there? It’s not like they could build miniature Kon-Tiki rafts. Anyway, no one knows. They’re just there.
The Fiji iguanas are rare and endangered, as island species often are. The government of Fiji endeavors to protect them, but that doesn’t stop some people from acquiring them illegally. So don’t buy one! They’re all needed to keep on mating in the wild.
It’s a beautiful creature, though–the Bible says the Lord delights in His creation, and we believe it.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with the shark that has a funny name.
You never hear much about the porbeagle. It looks a lot like the great white, to which it’s very closely related. It’s a really good idea to get out of the water rather than place confidence in your ability to tell the two apart. But the white shark is notorious for attacking human beings, and the porbeagle isn’t. One wonders why.
Apparently God, when He was creating sharks, used pretty much the same template to create two species with very different behavior patterns. And the more you think about that, the more you wonder.
Even Mr. Nature doesn’t know everything about nature; so when “Watchman” asked if I’d ever heard of the quokka, reputed to be “the happiest animal in the world,” I had to say no. Nevertheless, there is such an animal and here it is.
I think they look like a cross between a kangaroo and a teddy bear. They live on scattered islands off the coast of Australia, and are zealously protected from overattentive tourists who just can’t get enough of them. Unlike most kangaroos and teddy bears, quokkas are very good at climbing trees.
God’s stuff–we never run out of things to love and admire in His handiwork.
To see how these little owls get along with people, and even with a dog, is to get a glimpse of God’s love. Love is the quintessential God’s stuff, and it works. And not just for humans, either.
One day when I was five years old, my friend and I ventured into the woods; and we hadn’t gone far when we got the scare of our lives. The noise we made disturbed an owl and flushed him out of his perch in a small tree beside the path, just four or five feet from us. Yikes! To this day I remember that owl as being a lot bigger than either of us.
But I know now that there was nothing to be afraid of.
One of the things that makes grocery shopping bearable, if you go to the same supermarket all the time, is that customers and store employees get to know each other, if not by name, at least by sight. We can then go on to exchange pleasantries with the checkout clerk.
Yesterday at the Stop & Shop, the clerk told an ancient joke which quickly led to more of the same–the older and cornier, the better. Here are some of the jokes we swapped.
*What did the buffalo say to his son when he sent him off to college?
*Did you hear the one about the three eggs?
*What is the difference between here and there?
The letter t.
By this time all of us, including the woman in line behind us, were having a good laugh. Hey, it was fun!
And these jokes were downright paleolithic. I mean, this is how the guys used to kill time while they were waiting for the mammoths. Julius Caesar probably groaned to hear these jokes.
Human interaction–one of those little bits of God’s stuff that can brighten up your day.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a thrilling tale from our kitchen.
Yesterday Mrs. Nature was making supper when she suddenly screamed. “What’s going on out there?” “It’s in my pants! It’s in my pants!”
Sure enough, it was a big bug crawling up her leg inside her pants–our cats were totally fascinated–and then it fell out on the floor. She thought it was a praying mantis at first, but it was just a harmless katydid. Relying on camouflage for protection, these move slowly and their leaf-like wings make a nice safe handle by which to pick them up and release them outdoors.
If you turn up the volume on this video, you can actually hear some katydids in the background. It’s one of the sounds of summer, katydidding away at night. It’s some of God’s stuff, and a joy to listen to.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with more of God’s stuff.
Cats and kids love these–click beetles: the “elater,” to crossword puzzle fans. When the beetle winds up on its back, which seems to happen often, it “clicks” straight up into the air in hopes of landing on its feet. They’ll keep trying till they get it right.
Their larvae are a pest, but the adult beetles are harmless and entertaining, if you like insect acrobatics.
Just another little detail of Creation…
Writing about transgenderism leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I doubt it’s much fun to read about it, either.
My Australian chess buddy, “optimal play,” has introduced me to Australian bush ballads. This one is Diamantina Drover by John Williamson, and I found it beautiful and moving. See? God made us with the ability to create beautiful things as well as evil and ugliness. It’s our choice which.
Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this sanity break as much as I have.