As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Too Much Nature

I have never been much of a nature girl. My mom used to have to insist that I play outside sometimes, because I would much rather have been inside, curled up on the sofa with an apple and my latest book. And did I tell you about the time that my dad asked me to weed a section of a flowerbed? I was so repulsed by the lurking creepy crawlies that I whined my way into never being asked to do it again. Pretty pitiful, huh?

Oh, I love cats and dogs and birds. And flowers and trees and leaves. And deer and rabbits. And sunsets. And the ocean. Those are such lovely things, don’t you think?

There are some nice buggy things too. Butterflies and ladybugs fall into that category. Ants are interesting when they stay out of my kitchen. I have learned to admire spiders (again, those that stay out-of-doors) and their intricate webs. It is fascinating to house a caterpillar and watch its metamorphosis from crawling thing to chrysalis to butterfly.

My tolerance for the ( shall I say it?) not-so-beautiful things in the natural world has grown over time. I truly appreciate God’s marvelous creation. I don’t think that praying mantises are particularly lovely. In fact, I don’t entirely trust an insect that has a neck. And the way that they turn their heads and watch me as I walk by is positively creepy. I imagine them saying, “I would eat you if I could.” However, I have very willingly let one live on the screen of my back porch for days now. (We just don’t make eye contact.)

I have even learned to tolerate the three-striped skink with the very blue tail that has also chosen my back porch as his home. (I suspect that the “skink” might possibly be “skinks”, but I choose to be in denial.) And who would have thought that I could ever share dwelling space with a lizard, a lizard being a reptile and all? But as long as he respects my boundaries and remains on the porch (and doesn’t surprise me like he did Ron a few nights ago by jumping out of a pot of impatiens), then he may stay.

But we’ve had a few unwelcome guests lately. Most unwelcome.

This week, Bekah was getting ready to pick some cherry tomatoes from her pot on the deck, when Kati said to her, “What in the world is “that?” “That” was this:

Oh my. Does that strike you as one of the weirdest things you have ever seen? Has anyone else ever seen one of these things?

Ron went out to look, came in and grabbed an insect field guide, and identified the gruesome visitor as a tomato hornworm with parasites. (No one was happy until I saw it too. Misery loves company?)

But the most unwelcome guest of all was (is) this:

This guy has stepped over the line. Way over the line.

I have to provide a bit of background to this story.

On the morning of September 1, the girls and I were leaving for a day of ordinary errands—orthodontist appointment, library, piano lesson. As Kati got into the car, she recoiled and declared that there was a frog in the opening of the door. She said that if she closed the door, it would be squished. Yuk.

Now even though I am not Nature Girl, I really don’t like to kill things, and that seemed like such an unpleasant way to meet one’s demise. So I told her to see if she could get it outside. She tried to shoo it out with a library book, but the thing crawled up over the top of the hinge part and disappeared. We assumed that it had gotten out, although we were a bit antsy during our travels that day. After all, no one had actually seen it leave. (Only Kati had seen it at all.)

Fast forward to this past Thursday evening.

I had been grocery shopping and had just unloaded all the bags from my car, and was getting ready to move the car from its unloading station near the back door to its regular parking place. Bekah wanted to ride with me. (It sounds silly, but when you’re little and are not allowed to ride in the front seat because of the air bag, a few seconds of traveling in the normally forbidden seat seems like a big deal.) So Bek began to climb into said front seat...and screamed. This time, I saw it too—The Frog (whom we had not seen for 16 days as we, presumably, carried it to and fro all over town!).

Managing to remain calm for Bekah’s sake, I scurried around to the passenger side, picked up a stick from the ground, and tried to encourage him to leave. But The Frog (hereafter known as Grady) had other plans. He crawled in further and sat in the floor. I told Bekah to get Kati to get her dad who was in the front yard mowing the lawn. I kept a vigilant eye on Grady so that I knew exactly where he was. That way, I reasoned, I would simply point him out to the knight-in-shining-armor-come-to-rescue-his-damsels-in-distress (aka Ron) who would handily return Grady to his natural habitat. Wrong again. Under my watchful eye, the brazen Grady climbed up under the dashboard of my car and disappeared.

This frog clearly does not respect my boundaries.

So now I have a car that I will not drive. Technically, Grady is harmless. But I fear that great harm could occur if I were driving along and he decided to emerge from his hiding place. Oh my.

I’ve had enough nature study for a while.


  1. Glad to hear the whole story after the preview over the phone! Yuck...and that hornworm still brings chills!

  2. The hornworm with parasites may be the most creepy thing I have ever seen. Grady and the "prayer meeting bug" seem lovely in comparison.

  3. That is so yuck!
    And I thought the one I found without parasites was horrifying.

  4. Cheryl I get quite entertained by your stories. You definily don't lead a boring life and you don't even have to leave home for it.

  5. I agree. That hornworm thing is funky. But Grady...well, he's darling.;-) The children and I got a great chuckle from reading your story.

  6. Kathy, you are a true nature girl! I want to be like you when I grow up! :-)

  7. Cheryl, you're a girl after my own heart! I think spiders are my personal arch enemy... and also attacking mantises. Yikes.

    However, you can rest assured that the hornworm will meet his demise soon. This weekend, a historical botanist showed us another impressive looking critter, the ichneuman wasp, who is the hornworm's arch enemy... those eggs will turn into larva that will eat him up.

    Which serves him right for eating tomato plants, in my opinion.


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