Friday, 5 February 2016

All Creatures Great and Small

All things wise and wonderful,
All creatures great and small.
All things bright and beautiful,
Our Lord God made them all.

…and I would like to dispute the place of a few of them! Ants, rats, mosquitoes, spiders, snakes and crocodiles are all on the list. Here are my gripes with these animals and why I struggle to join in the joyful tone of this hymn when I think of them.

Ants. They get into everything. The little ones get into clothing and body creases, where they bite and then I itch. The big ones scare me. All sizes are capable of getting past almost every defence to eat my food before I can.

Rats. If a group of workers in the developing world go quiet, ask them if they have any stories about rats and they’ll talk animatedly for hours, each story more disturbing than the last. These plague carriers have a death defying abilities as they run up posts and outwit the smartest traps. They drive us to distraction as we try to keep them out of our houses and lives, but they constantly find their way back in.

Mosquitoes. Malaria, dengue, Ross river virus and more. I’m not sure there is anything to like about these flying disease bearers. Their buzzing keeps me awake at night. Their bites itch and remind me to keep putting on mosquito repellent and taking anti-malarials. I’m not sure what chemicals I rub into my skin a few times a day, but I choose them over the alternatives the mosquitoes may bring.

Spiders. Their redeeming feature is that they eat mosquitoes, so often they are left to live. The one who likes to build a web by my front door though, where I regularly walk through it in the mornings, shall eventually be exterminated. They are small and creepy, and much of my dislike of spiders is to do with coming from a nation with so many that are highly poisonous.

Snakes. What is that rustling sound I hear in my grass roof at times? Is it a rat or a snake? I think I prefer the snake, as it might eat the rats, but only if it stays on high and never ever comes to visit me inside my room. The mere thought of it in my kitchen makes me squirm with discomfort.

Crocodiles. A bit like sharks, people eat more crocs in a year that crocs do people, but their sheer strength and killing ability puts me on edge. As they lie on the river bank, watching us through one half open eye, I am sure they really are imagining how well we’d fit within their skin.

So, next time you look at my photos and think ‘Wow, you live in Paradise!’ remember that there is more than meets the eye. I do understand that each of these creatures has their place in the ecosystem, and that we live in a fallen world where our relationship with creation is not the way it was designed to be. Still, I am happy to have fewer of these creatures in my life.

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