I noticed the first signs of spring a few weeks ago, the first time I stepped outside to begin my lawn raking project. And a project it is; the former home owners moved out last October, and we moved in just after the snow started falling in December, so the yard was never raked through the fall months. Thankfully we only have a small patch of grass, which covers the space between the front of our home and the street, but it will still take me a while to find what is left beneath the debris. After spending an hour raking and carting away leaves from an area the size of a parking space, I concluded that if I work on it every nice day, I may finish cleaning up the front lawn by the time the baby is born.
Anyway, it was exciting to find, nestled among the dead leaves and pine needles beside our driveway, some completely random flowers! In fact, I keep noticing green things sprouting up in all different places where I do not expect them. Apparently at some point in time, this house had a nicely landscaped exterior. I thank whoever it was who planted those bulbs for bringing a little early spring joy to my family...and of course the Creator, who has given us the brilliant colors of spring and the freshness of new life to remind us of His breathtaking glory.
The crocuses and jonquils were not our only outdoor discovery. In the midst of the last autumn's crumbling leftovers, Donny spotted this bright green leaf...with legs!
And underneath one of the wet leaf piles I raked up, the boys found "Wormy." They were very interested in the slimy creature that day. The next time they found him (or more accurately, "it," since earthworms are hermaphrodites), Donny remembered the theory that if you cut a worm in half, both halves will live. (Later I did some quick research on this, and learned that it is not exactly true; some species of worms will regenerate lost parts, but the severed part normally dies.) From across the yard, I heard Donny - with chopping stick in hand - exclaim excitedly, "Mumma, we're making more worms!"
Speaking of sticks, our little yard is full of them. Last winter's ice storm rained down a selection of everything from large branches to tiny twigs. Donny has already lost his stick privileges a few times due to close encounters with his brother's face while Donny was off in his imaginary world, oblivious to whom he might be poking with the branch in his hand. However, the mere fact that we have an abundance of sticks at our disposal is exciting, for half a year ago, sticks were a rare commodity. Because there were no woods or mature trees near our landscaped apartment community, it was rare to find a stick anywhere on the property. The boys sometimes brought sticks home from Grandpa's house, stashing them behind the bushes outside to use as digging tools until they were lost or broken. Now in our new home, we have been having campfires with the fallen branches from our yard, and even our pool is full of sticks from the many surrounding trees!
Since hanging our birdfeeder, we have noticed an adundance of wildlife, too. Chickadees, tufted titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, juncos, and goldfinches come to eat the sunflower seeds and millet in our feeder. So do two pesky gray squirrels and one bold chipmunk, and there is a red squirrel who prances in the trees nearby. We have also observed robins on the ground, crows cawing from the tree tops, and some sort of large beetles crawling on tree trunks and house (yuck). Today I even noticed what appears to be a small bird nest tucked beneath the overhang by our door. How perfectly fitting for our study of birds! It really is amazing to see so many living things just in our own little yard.
Seeing all this, I wonder how anyone can doubt the Creation. How could purple crocuses spring up through dead leaves, and goldfinches chirp alongside red cardinals on a tree branch, and bugs that look just like leaves creep along, just by chance? There is an order and harmony and beauty to nature that bears obvious testimony to the One who created it. Spring is such a colorful reminder that everything we see is part of our Creator's purpose and design. And while I may wonder why He declared ants and flies and mosquitos necessary for the world's survival, it is not for me to question such an intricately designed universe. All I can do is praise Him for allowing me to see His Almighty hand in every flower, every bird, and even every bug...may others delight in the same revelation!
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.