Walking up the alley to my office today I noticed a lovely black butterfly floating about as butterflies tend to. They flutter and then tack and sail in a random fashion along whatever air currents are available for their fragile little bodies. This one swooped up and around me. It was an odd little nature moment that felt rather magical. I had been shuttling about for the previous few hours, making a lackluster home visit with a very troubled person. Patience is the only word I heard from on high. “Patience. I’ll do the heavy lifting. Presence.” And now this playful creature swirled felicitously about me like the Holy Spirit. How nice. A visual incense trail lightly touching my tired mind and soul. Ahhhh! I breathed deeply and slowly. The brighter the day, the more glorious this swallow tailed wonder became with its iridescent patterns. How fine the details on such an insignificant insect. Why would anyone inject so much artistry and perfect symmetry into a dusty moth? The Artist must have recklessly abundant love, humor and beauty, so much that He can splash it around the universe to overflowing levels. A postcard from heaven on a tired day. “Look where I am. Wish you were here.”
Now the other day I watched a hummingbird zipping around the geraniums on my back deck. How strange and entertaining they are. When they actually stop flying and walk about, they make a funny high-pitched chirping noise that reminds me they are birds and not insects. Like butterflies these creatures seem almost comical in their flight, as if God sent them like little breath mints to take our breath away every so often. Sure, I know they fill a niche in the food chain and have adapted to survive; they eat something else and then predators eat them. But that’s so far from my mind when I watch one hover in space, seemingly defying gravity and physics. A tiny jewel of a miracle with a heart rate of 1260 beats per minute or 21 beats per second! Not as fast as a tattoo gun but who cares. Leviticus 19:28 forbids tattoos on God’s people. What? Don’t take my word for it. Check it out. There is no prohibition against hummingbird heart beats, however.
Cut jewels reflect light in their tiny facets, slicing the full spectrum of sunglow into laser lines of fire. These flecks of majesty catch our attention like a figure/ground exercise. “Oh look, there’s a spectacularly lacey hemlock” [in the midst of a primeval forest of awesome evergreens]. We seem to miss the obvious all around us every day, so one leaf or tree or cloud catches us up into a moment of praise. My black butterfly and ruby throated hummingbird were facets of the jeweled world we live in. In my moment of awe awareness I have to expand my mind backwards to the Light of the World, the Creator of all. I’m so impressed by one grain of sand on an endless beach that I shrink from my own naivete and miss the unwinding beach in front of me.
Let’s dip into the ocean of further consciousness, why don’t we? Ever see a seahorse? The hippocampus is its scientific name and it means “horse + sea monster”. How cool is that? We have a little brain part called the hippocampus also. Two of them actually, called hippocampi in the plural form. (Here is where an immature writer would make a joke about hippopotamus college or rhinoceros university, but I will spare you, dear blogogi.) The thing is, sea horses are goofy, funny, helpless little things that float about our oceans. They are fish that swim upright and poorly, which makes a guy wonder what good are they. Dried sea horses sold in Chinese markets command the price of precious metals. Why? They are used as medicine to treat impotence, and no price can be too high for treating human impotence. Nosirree. So once again we see a preposterous creature reflecting the endless mystery of the Creator.
I know there are many other favorite weird creatures– spiders, praying mantis, hermit crabs– to ponder. Oh, let’s not forget my daughter’s favorite bird, the blue footed booby, which elicited rolls of giddy laughter from her as a young child. All of them remind us of our Creator and His endless clues to His character. Behold.