It appeared a bright orange streak across the hillside hiking trail, as if someone had spilled a can of orange soda on the uphill side of the path and it had run crossways downhill. But we stopped quickly in our tracks when we observed it to be a stream of thousands and thousands of ants heading uphill.
Brilliant in color, they were astonishing, stretching into the prairie grasses, wildflowers and brush on either side of the trail, a parade, not marching one-by-one or ten-by-ten as the song insists ants do, but a pulsing, coursing river of life, in places a half-inch wide. Twenty-by-twenty? Thirty-by-thirty? I could not tell. But they were all heading the same direction, from one place to another, even crawling over each other in places.
It gripped me. Overcoming my initial sensation of the creepiest insect scene in a classic Indiana Jones movie, or an old issue of National Geographic, I followed the downhill side of the procession, seeking their advancing source, picking carefully through thick growth, thinking it would lead quickly to an underground starting place. But it stretched into the pampas along mouse trails and rock edges, down, down, down. “Thousands? There must be millions,” I thought. I was a full twenty-five yards downhill before it all seemed to commence at one medium boulder. I heaved on it. It did not seem to budge. But I no sooner had my hand free than it was swarming with orange, the mother lode. I must have moved it enough to get their attention.
My own attention then switched back uphill to where they might be heading on the other side of the trail. Where were they bound, and to what end? But I was not successful in finding this; within a short distance I lost the convoy in impassible brush.
What an amazing river of life. I have never seen anything like it.
Lord, as I have thought about it, Your river of life is truly an astounding thing. Is this how Your beloved creation seems to You over the eons, an almost endless, yet much-loved marching band?
Is this how Your beloved creation
seems to You over the eons, an
almost endless marching band?
Yet my mind is further boggled by God’s created variety, over 5,400 known species of mammals, 10,000 birds, 14,000 reptiles and amphibians, 30,000 fish, and a million of insects. And this is to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of species of plants and other life forms. Biologists sometimes even say there may be as many undiscovered species on earth as there are discovered, and that today’s diversity represents just a small portion of the species that have walked, swam, flown or sprouted the globe over time. What a procession it all must seem from the Master Designer’s perspective.
I’m undone again by the Creator’s majesty…
Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his wisdom and knowledge and riches! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! (Romans 11:33, TLB)
~~ RGM, from an earlier
entry in my nature journal