In Search of Fuzzy Caterpillars


The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.    ~ Psalm 19:1; NRSV

Not too long ago, my family hiked up a mountain in a remote enclave of Pennsylvania.  We’re not avid hikers by any stretch of the imagination, proven by the difficulty we had as we trudged towards the mountain’s peak, seven-year-old and two-year-old in tow.  Once we reached the summit we all basked in the beauty of the view, taking in the vivid green of the trees, the blue sky, the rock hewn ground.  We breathed in the warm, clear air.

But for the adults among us, the spell was broken after only a few moments.  Then our minds turned to the sweat trickling down our necks, our hungry bellies, and our thirst.  Impatient, we embarked on the long trip back down the mountain, intent on hastily re-tracing our footprints down the steep path.  However, our two-year-old son, James, had different plans.  Much to our dismay, he was content to stop about every five minutes and plunk down wherever he happened to be.  As the rest of us rolled our eyes and let out deep sighs, he’d eagerly explore everything in his immediate vicinity.

I envy my children.  Theirs is a world of wonder, as yet unfettered by the preoccupations and anxieties that consume us as we get older.  They savor the contours of rocks, and the uneven edges of each stick they pick up.  The gentle trickle of icy water weaving through a creek is music to their ears.  They relish the simple gifts nature so generously gives to us.

How much more enriching life would be if we took the time to notice the intricacies of the natural world.  Away from our smartphones, away from our TVs, and iPads, and laptops.  All we really need to do is step outside and breathe in the crisp scent of an evergreen tree, or touch the vulnerable bud that’s about to bloom into a flower.  Notice the elegant mother deer and two her speckled fawns quietly gliding through the brush.  How is it that she feels comfortable getting so close to people?  Marvel at the fuzzy yellow caterpillar inching his way across the ground, or the spiky white and black caterpillar curling up in the shade of a leaf.  Why are some of her spikes significantly longer than others?

Somewhere along the way, whether we intend to or not, we become immune to the subtle glory all around us.  We’ll never be able to match the Creator’s ingenuity in crafting everything we see, so we should simply savor it, grateful for the God who is so gifted an artist and engineer.

Let’s pray together:

God of speckled fawns and fuzzy caterpillars,

Forgive us when we don’t notice the painstaking details of your creation.  You paint nuances we’ll never see, and conjure up breezes we’ll never feel.  Help us to see, to hear, to feel, to savor.  Amen.



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