Tuesday, June 10, 2014

all creatures great and small

Living on a farm has its advantages in the spring time. My little animal-lovers get to witness nature in a mostly undisturbed setting.  Though I am somewhat squeamish at heart, I try not to let on in front of my children. Shhhh... don't tell. I fool them into believing I am not afraid of these crawly things in hopes that someday they will not let fear of touching an animal 1/100th of their size rule over them.

One day back in March, thousands of tadpoles appeared in the small spring-fed pond at the bottom of our hill (picture above). I did a good mom kind of thing and let my children catch and raise a quartet of them in one of my favorite glass vases on the kitchen counter. I assumed the tadpoles would take around three weeks to grow legs and lose their tails. Not sure where I came up with this number, but I figured that kittens can be adopted away from their mothers after 6 weeks, and tadpoles are far more simple creatures, so it couldn't take too long.

Wrong. Three months later a few of them had hind legs, but they all remained in the tadpole category. Their bowl was absolutely putrid because we had discovered the hard way that tadpoles are "fragile". I was afraid to clean it lest they die after all this time on prime kitchen counter space, and my kids would want to start over with new ones.

After all of that watching and waiting, metamorphosis did eventually occur. Despite the long tadpole stage, the end process was alarmingly fast as one tadpole at a time made its final change into a Pacific Treefrog. In a 24-hour period a tadpole would sprout front legs, lose its tail, and then did its best to hop right out of the bowl. After the first frog was found on the kitchen floor, we paid more attention to the others as they approached frog-hood.

Goodbye frogs that took FOREVER to grow. You can fend for yourself in our backyard now.

After all of the observing for months I couldn't believe how fast the final miracle happened. Perhaps the long stage of tadpole development really was about preparation for that final miracle. Even the smallest among God's creatures is complex in its own way. And perhaps metamorphosis can occur in our own lives if we are patient enough to see it through.

Without further ado, here is glimpse (seriously, only a tiny segment) of the other animal encounters we have had over the past few months. Cecil Frances Alexander's poem says it best...

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
(Rescued baby hummingbird)
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
(Great Blue Heron)
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.
(Wild male turkey displaying his feathers. So much more magnificent in real life.)
The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;
(Swallowtail Butterfly)
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
(Gopher snake that doubles as a styling necklace)
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;--
(Snake skin as tall as Annike. Hopefully the owner is out eating our gophers.)
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well. 

-- Cecil Frances Alexander
circa 1848

Oh yes. Can't forget the chyrsalis hanging in the doorway after nap.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha! Love the chrysalis in the doorway! Can't wait to see what finally emerges from that. ; )

    What amazing nature stories! Huge blessings.


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