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And God Saw That It Was Good.

Reflections on sacred lessons learned from our blessed but fragile Earth

Written By Susan Hanson

A new reflection will be posted each week for 20 weeks.

Mexican Free-Tailed BatsWeek 1: MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS
Somehow...among the millions of bat pups “crying” for their mothers, the Mexican free-tailed bat is able to find her young. Drawn by its scent and the particular sound it makes, she knows her own in a deep and intimate way. Read more.


OrangutansWeek 2: ORANGUTANS
We smile when we read their stories, these “men of the forest” who in so many ways are like us. Recently, for example, the Internet community has become enamored of Bonnie, the 30-year-old orangutan who learned to whistle by imitating her caretaker. Read more.


Cownose StingraysWeek 3: COWNOSE STINGRAYS
In the first chapter of Genesis, as we read the story of God’s creation of the world, we hear repeatedly that “God saw it was good.” Though we can never truly see from God’s perspective, we can be certain that what we see at any one moment is only part of a larger story. Read more.


Red-eyed Tree Frog; photo by Dionisio PaniaguaWeek 4: TEN NEW SPECIES OF AMPHIBIANS
As biologists tell us, amphibians are "indicator species"; that is, their permeable skin makes them sensitive to environmental changes that humans may not be aware exist. To ecologists, the presence of these creatures is both a sign of hope and a cause for concern. Read more.


The Puffins of Eastern Egg RockWeek 5: THE PUFFINS OF EASTERN EGG ROCK
Uninviting though it is, Eastern Egg Rock is also the site of a miracle of sorts. Once plentiful on the island, the Atlantic puffin had disappeared by the end of the 19th century...Thanks to the vision of a single man, however, the puffins are there once more, and thriving. Read more.


Resurrection Fern; image courtesy of the Nature StationWeek 6: RESURRECTION FERN
Many plants go dormant in the hot summer months, but the resurrection fern takes this survival tactic to the limit. Normally lush and green like any other fern, Polypodium polypodioides has the uncanny ability to “die” and come back to life hours, days, even decades later. Read more.


Leaf-cutter antWeek 7: CONSIDER THE ANT
Anyone who has ever watched a line of ants moving through the forest, each one carrying a piece of leaf far larger than itself, has no doubt marveled at this insect. Read more.



SoilWeek 8: SOIL
According to Discovery Education, “Each shovel of soil holds more living things than all the human beings ever born.” And those are just the ones we’ve identified so far. Read more.


Pill BugWeek 9: PILL BUGS
The lowly pill bug—known to children everywhere as a “roly-poly” or “doodlebug”—is celebrated for nothing, save its entertaining habit of curling into a tight little ball when threatened. Who wouldimagine, then, that this creature might actually be good at something other than decimating this year’s crop of lettuce, beans and squash? Read more.

Winter windWeek 10: WIND
Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I," wrote poet Christina Rossetti. What we have seen, however, is what the wind can do. Read more.



Bosavi Woolly Rat, photo courtesy of Bruce M. Beehler/AFP/Getty ImagesWeek 11: BOSAVI WOOLLY RAT
For anyone afraid of rats, the story coming out of Papua, New Guinea in the spring of 2009 was truly the stuff of nightmares. Read more.


Rather than forming rings like other plants, such as the redwoods, the creosote bush decays from the inside out, meaning that the outer rings are simply an extension of the original plant. Read more.



LightningWeek 13: LIGHTNING
Because it travels at roughly 93,000 miles per second, this energy—which is more than 10 times hotter than the sun—appears as a single flash. Neither the human eye, nor the human mind, can contain it. Read more.


Known as the "unicorn of the sea," the narwhal is different from its mythic cousin in one important respect: It's real. Read more.



Meteorite chunkWeek 15: METEORITES
In movies they are moon-size objects, hurtling through space toward a hapless ...densely populated region. In real life, though, most meteors are no larger than a speck of dust or, at most, a pea. Read more.



Ice CavesWeek 16: ICE CAVES
Standing in the mouth of an ice cave is balm to a desert traveler. Hot and tired from hiking over ropey lava and shards of brittle rock, the passerby can’t help but be refreshed by the unexpected draft of freezing air. Read more.


SalamanderWeek 17: SALAMANDERS
At first glance, it looks like a whiskerless catfish, its blunt head jutting from a space beneath the rocks.  But then it inches out, revealing not just legs, but also three pair of feathery gills that protrude from its head like horns. Read more.



Duck-billed Platypus


National Geographic describes it as being “among nature's most unlikely animals”—and indeed it is. The platypus—or “duck-billed platypus,” as it is also called—baffled the scientific world from the start. Read more.


Susan Hanson's dog, Annie
Week 19: DOGS
It’s easy to forget that beyond her soulful eyes, velvety ears, and comical nature, the dog in my living room is a biological marvel. Read more.



Sooty Shearwaters in flight

While humans may get lost traveling across town, birds usually seem to know exactly where they’re going... Read more.