Definitely an animal theme recently and a bit of a travelogue post…
It started a few days ago on what would have been nature artist Charley Harper’s 100th birthday and it just so happened that I had a few moments with Charley Harper pieces at Winton Woods that morning – one of which included Scout trying to insert herself with the other animals.
In addition we also celebrated the birth of Cincinnati’s newest animal celebrity, a new baby hippo (still unnamed) at the Cincinnati Zoo. This little hippo is the younger brother of the world-famous, Fiona.
Then yesterday morning during my walk with Scout I saw several deer, a bunch of rabbits, geese, squirrels, dogs, fish, a turtle, bugs, birds, some humans and then this trio of ducks (who always seem to be together).
And finally…a big part of my “Fruit of the Spirit” sermon on kindness yesterday morning was centered around the kindness of animals (dogs in particular) and we also were blessed to have two of our members and their therapy dogs sharing about their ministry with their dogs. I shared, of course, a good bit about Scout but we also had a montage of animals important to folks in our congregation (dogs, cats, a deer, and a turkey too!).
But this goes back to where I started this post…Space for all species. One of the areas in which I have been growing in my faith is the recognition of the depth of connection there is between us and the natural world. It a thing where we are separate from all the rest but that we are fully a part of this creation and the impacts we humans are making on the natural world are affecting these beautiful animals in ways that they did nothing to impact and in ways that we are only beginning to see.
For example, did you know that the overwhelming majority of sea turtles that are hatching on Florida beaches are female? The reason is that the gender of the not-yet-hatched turtles is determined by the temperature of the sand in which the eggs are buried. So, above a certain temperature and the turtle is female. Below that temperature, they are male. So, the warmer the beach stay, the fewer male turtles there will be, thereby damaging the population of sea turtles overall. This is just one example. So when I see these beautiful animals, I feel a burden to care for and be a good steward for them and remember that we are to live in a way that is honoring and nurturing space for all species.