Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Newbies & Newts

by Steve Ray on July 24, 2007

GolfCart.jpgGrandkids are cool – little "newbie people" so interested in everything. OK, so we have an old golfcart and I drive the grandkids around exploring. Every two-track back into a field or woods is a "new territory" that needs to be conquered. Every rock has to be turned over, every bug caught and every tree identified. New territories are exciting places.

Yesterday we went to "Territory 1" which was down the road a bit and into a cornfield. The cornfield was outlined with sumac trees, old stumps, wild flowers and other treasures of inestimable excitement. We flipped over a log and found an "Ant City" teaming with black six-legged termites eating their way through rotting wood — making tunnels and passageways and carrying eggs from one chamber to another. The ants couldn't figure out who the three giants were who picked up their city and turned it all around before setting it back down. We could just imagine all the ant gossip that evening.

Newt.jpgAnd then there was the big old stump. I KNEW we would find something interesting under there — and sure enough, once I wrestled it loose and moved it there was this little orange wiggly critter. He didn't move fast enough to escape me. In a split second he was my captive, wriggling in the squeezed palm of my hand. We grabbed a sumac branch to make baby canoes later and rushed home to identify the little "lizard."

Sure enough he was a Central Newt in mid-life crises. He starts out as a wiggly larvae in the water before metamophesizing in this "eft" which is the mid-life stage. For two years it living under rocks and rotting logs after which he turns into an adult Central Newt. He crawls back into some water where it spends the rest of its life, laying eggs so the cycle can start all over again. 

God sure makes some interesting critters. God cares about dogma, morality and churches, popes, bishops and sacraments, holiness, me and  you, and my grandkids. But God also cares about buggy-egged newts living under rotting logs.

JoshSmokingPipeSm.jpgWe sure love exploring God's creation out in the new territories. But then back on the home front, once we've left the excitement of the wild lands, Grandpa Steve (that's me) lit up his pipe to blow some smoke rings — kinda like Bilbo Baggins, you know. The grandkids are impressed with this too.

So Josh had to take a try. I told him he could not breath in — ONLY blow out to puff the smoke out through the pipe. So Josh gave it a try. It was just good ole cherry pipe tobacco which we puff on about once a month or so.

C. S. Lewis once said a pipe was a wonderful thing, especially in a conversation because it give you time to do something with your hands while you marshall your thoughts. I think he also said that Mankind is the only creatures that can contain fire in the palm of his hand. One of those things that come with being made in the image of God — different than any other created being.

CharlotteFishing.jpgThen see what happens when kids get older? This is my daughter Charlotte. She was invited to go fishing last night so she thought it would be fun to dress up like an old country fisherman. She even grabbed my hat, my vest, my boots and my old corncob pipe. I told her to make sure she only exhaled.

Well, so much for kids, grandkids, newts, ant-cities and pipes. We gotta run — there are new territories to discover and new creations of God to uncover –discovering God's world by thinking his thoughts after him.

Adios! (sound of golf cart tires spinning on the wet grass as the explorers zip off into the woods.)

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