March 24 Post
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” - Job 12:7-9
It feels like spring break in the neighborhood. There’s a stealth party going on that likely won’t make the evening news or become a super-spreader event. I noticed it first when a hawk landed on the back fence, keeping a lookout. Later, the resident bunny re-appeared, staying close to the hedge. The yearling squirrels romped along with their cousins until our Portuguese water dog encouraged them to seek higher ground. At least three varieties of lizards roam the edges of the porch screen seeking a crevice to break in. God knows what they’re thinking. I want to warn them that the grass really isn’t greener on the other side of that fence.
Every day more creatures show up for the celebration. Out for my morning prayer walk, I looked up to notice an enormous mammal crossing the street less than twenty-feet away. It was too long to be a dog, and too big to be a cat, and too confident to be most anything else. The bobcat loped into the shrubbery across the street before I could capture his image on camera. He looked to be about thirty-pounds of lean muscle and wasn’t afraid of anything.
Living on an island means the animal party continues off shore, a recently spotted a right whale just north of an oceanside park. Earlier this year I saw two, giant manta rays cruising the shore, barely touching as they passed just beyond reach of honeymooners who stood waist deep in the surf. On the other side of the island just today, a photographer captured the rare occurrence of a bull shark and an alligator swimming up the Indian River Lagoon at the end of our block. So much for the locals who told me alligators don’t like brackish water!
This panoply of diverse species share local real estate without investing a dime, and I wonder. It all those creatures can mutually inhabit the neighborhood, why can’t we humans manage to respectfully do the same? I know one of you will remind me that animals do sometimes eat one another, yet mostly they don’t. There’s enough provision for everybody. “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?”
Prayer: Thank you God, for animals feathered and furred, for creatures slick and scaled, and all things that have life and breath. Grant in us a greater measure of respect and gratitude for this beautiful world you have made, and all that dwells herein. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
Community Church of Vero Beach
PS. Here’s a link to the Bull Shark and Alligator Swimming Side-By-Side in case you missed it!