I’d like to share something my grandfather wrote regarding nature. He was an observant individual, and eager for reasons for life’s curiosities. His approached nature from a spiritual wondering, but that is not so different from a scientist’s drive for a testable explanation. My grandfather saw nature as a puzzle created specifically for man to figure out.
“I think a lot about all the laws of nature; of all the different plants and creatures out there in nature; that God created them all. When we get poison ivy and break out in an itchy rash, we wonder sometimes if God created poison ivy for a good purpose or did it happen through some misuse of some kind by man. It probably serves some useful purpose; we just havent figured it out yet.
Of all the tiny creatures out there, the imported fire ant has recently become another pest we have to put up with. I have heard about how smart ants are. They were always in some other part of the world. I just recently saw my first smart ants, fire ants at that. I keep my dog’s feed dish on the deck all day and bring it in at night. Fire ants began to swarm in it by the hundreds for her food. I got a larger pan and put water in it and set her feed pan in the middle with water all around it. Sometimes, even then, the ants would swarm all over her food. This was quite a puzzle for awhile. Then, late one day I went out to bring it in and it was full of ants. It was on the edge of the deck so I got down on the ground where I could get a good close-up view to observe it more closely. One side of the feed an was about 1/4th of an inch from the edge of the water pan. the ants had formed a live ant bridge across the narrow space and the other ants were streaming on top of the live ant bridge. I stood there for some time and observed them. I then emptied her drinking water into her feed pan. I observed them for awhile. Some of the ants swam and some of them walked on the bottom of the pan like the water wasn’t there.
I have done quite a bit of thinking about the ants since then. how big is an ant’s brain that they can figure out an engineering job like that? How do they know which ones are to form the bridge? Is it is a survival instinct that nature provided them with? It this pat of God’s handiwork? Did he intend for it to be that way? After much thought I came to the conclusion that they are just oportunitsts. The first ant instinctively reached out for the other side. The next ant took advantage of the first and ran out on him to reach the other side. They just kept running out on them until they connected to the other side. They just kept running across.”
– James W. Hadder, 1920-2010
We are all curious and want answers, no matter what our motivations.