King of Nature

    Today, I walked beside the lake.

    It was pretty - and I use that word only because "beautiful" is overdone. Beside the lake was anything but overdone. The grass ran right up the water's edge, and a habit-made walking trail ran alongside it.

    Insects fluttered in the grass, buzzing around, keeping things active. A misshapen dragonfly followed a circuit above the water, but it was the less pleasant bugs that had my attention.

    If only the world was free of these, nature would be perfect.

    Suddenly I saw something else. I imagined God walking along the water, and I saw him enjoying each of these insects as something unique, each fulfilling its purpose, each keeping the world alive and busy.

    I've seen old paintings where man walks among the beasts, lions and snakes all in harmony under man's leadership. It's the ancient image of paradise - a kingdom of nature, with humans as the rulers. Man is the representative of god, the stories tell us, and humanity exercises his care for the creatures.

    These insects weren't intruders - they were mine. Not mine meaning ownership - but that they were there for me, for me to care for and watch over. And I was walking along the water as a man amongst them.

    There's something amazing about realizing the world is yours - regardless of who owns it.

    And there's something amazing about realizing that all the ugly, unpleasant things are part of the complexity and depth and beauty that make up the world.