Thursday, January 31, 2008

I LOVE NATURE

Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon Like a magician extended his golden want o'er the landscape; Trinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.
Author: Henry Wadsworth LongfellowSource: Evangeline (pt. II, sec. II)

"When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator”~~Mahatma Gandhi

These pictures were taken in Central Florida. In the first one we were driving through a "hammock". Since some of you may not know this term here is what Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, says:

"The word hammock is derived from hummock, but the exact origin is unknown. It is defined as "a fertile area in the southern U.S. and esp. Florida that is usually higher than its surroundings and that is characterized by hardwood vegetation and deep humus-rich soil."

I love to spend time in a hammock because it seems like such a safe place to be with the huge trees and the moss hanging from the trees. It is a wonderful place for wildlife. In my mind I can recall seeing a Doe with her fawn leaping up from a fern bed because she sensed danger, or wild turkey resting in the cool hammock, wild boar may be resting in the thick palmetto bushes or you may see a Peleated woodpecker after you have heard him tapping on the trees. You look up you see air plants on the huge oak branches some with plumes of red or pink, you may still see a wild orchid with its spikes of flowers and resurrection fern clinging to the branches like it is a carpet. (it gets its name because it can survive long periods of drought by curling up and appearing dead. When just a little water is present, the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to resurrect.) It to me is a beautiful sight! I do not know of lovelier spots to sit listening to birds and simply resting in the heat of the day. (But remember the bug repellent).

I have often sat at a hunting camp we had in a Hammock and would hear the burrowing owls or maybe a Barred Owl about sunset time and it would seem strange but wonderful as the palmetto bushes rustle in the breeze and you begin to wonder just what all is there that you do not see. You can be sure armadillos will be hunting and raccoons will be scampering around or a fox may be lurking.

The second picture is what you see as you come out into the flatlands of Florida. (It was taken the same night) It is a vast area usually and as your eyes take it all in you are simply in awe. For me only God can create the beauty of a sunset.......it is a perfect way to end a day. It is a peaceful time and you can only imagine who traveled there before you did. Native Americans are a great part of the history of Florida as are the settlers or the folks that came for the timber or simply to live off the land and have cattle in the areas that were cleared.......as you watch the sunset you feel all these things and it leaves you with the feeling many will travel this land when you are gone.

My prayer is we will care for the beautiful spots that are full of nature. I believe we are to care for the earth. The Lord gave man dominion over the earth, and with that authority the responsibility to care for the earth wisely. Pollution and needlessly wasted resources do not represent love for our neighbors or respect for God's creation nor give our children and grandchildren the beauty we can enjoy. I guess you would call me a "Creation Care" lady. To me this is part of stewardship I want to do my part in conservation and restoration of the creation God entrusted to our care. Let's give our children the beauty of the hammocks and sunsets, clear lakes, beautiful rivers and sparkling streams that flow down from the mountains or through the meadows.......they sure deserve that and I want to do my part!

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