This morning a smoky February mist hovered over the two acre pond that makes up our back yard, an ever changing stage where stories of great drama and occasional comedy play daily. From snips of conversation with various long-time residents of the area we can trace the pond’s beginnings to at least the early 1950’s as a man-made watering hole for cows. It’s not a deep water pond, perhaps no more than nine feet where the earthen dam holds it back. In the dry seasons the level drops dramatically but two small springs trickle into it via naturally carved rivulets so it never goes dry. All it takes is a single good rain to bring it back to full pool.
It is a complete eco-system that successfully self-manages and has, for all these decades, and long before we owned it. We knew about the large catfish and the brim from the beginning. By accident, several years later, we discovered there are large bass as well and so we assume there are other species lurking in the muddy depths yet to be revealed. On warm sunny days, turtles line up on the banks to catch some rays. Frogs, of all kinds, lurk in and around the lily pads waiting for a dragonfly or some other bug to get within tongue-flick range. But the frogs are fair game for the hawks and the crane who also eats the unlucky bass fry that flit too close to the shore. The bass that survive fryhood slurp up the tadpoles and so the story rewrites itself every day.
The Canadian geese are abundant and nest around the pond in the spring, the choicest spot being on the island in the middle, and raise their young, unless their eggs are raided in the dark of night by the raccoon or the goslings are scooped out of the water by a crow or hawk. In this drama no animal is dominant, not even the hawk; there’s a circuitous natural law that governs the population of the pond.
We watch the melodrama from front row seats on our back deck; it never gets old. It’s the best kind of reality show with something new added every day. Sometimes a new creature will appear, like the all white snow goose that melded with the resident geese shortly after a huge storm. We assumed he was thrown off course and landed here, forever separated from his flock. Occasionally something peculiar shows up and I have to do a search online to find out what it is, which leads me on a quest to find more information about the inhabitants of our pond. Killdeer lay their mottled eggs in the open on the grassy slope. How do they survive? Truth is they don’t always. But those that do go on to play their roles like all the other performers.
Sometimes the drama is brutal and it’s hard to watch but we choose not to interfere with the natural narrative. A mortally wounded gosling languishes until it is snatched up by a hawk. Robin triplets, mouths open all day being fed by busy parents are gone without a trace the next day; dinner for the hawk’s brood perhaps? A black snake finds a duck’s eggs hidden in the rushes. A crow snaps up a snake. And a tiny brave warrior bird deters a hawk, five times its size, from taking too many goslings.
And so it goes, and so it goes.
The ongoing tale of the pond, original every day but forever the same, is a revelation of God’s perfect order. God issued the natural order but mankind, in great awe of its own intelligence, has determined that God does not know best how to run things. And that is the consensus from those who actually believe there is a God. He did a pretty good job designing it all but, really, things could be improved. So man, in his arrogant greatness, has managed to pollute and interfere with natural order, to disrupt, rearrange, manipulate and reengineer what was absolutely perfect.
The way things are going, with great intelligent minds working so diligently to usurp God in every way possible, I fear one day, the smoke on the water will not be a gentle mist, but something much more sinister. And then the story will change–forever.
(Genesis 1:20) And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (1:21) And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good. (1:22) And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.