All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small There is an old hymn, “All Creatures Great and Small” that reads, “All things bright and beautiful, all things great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”  In fact, in Genesis it is written that God created all living creatures, from the massive fish of the sea, to the great beasts of the land, and to the small creepy crawlers in the ground.  Yeah, that’s right, I said “creepy crawlers” and if you lived in Haiti, you might be as fascinated as I am with these “bright and beautiful” creatures that reside in my Haiti home. PicMonkey Collage One night I was awoken by a fluttering sound in the bathroom, which happens to be directly underneath my bedroom loft.  With timid caution, I managed to make it down the stairs, flashlight in hand, grabbing a frying pan as I passed the kitchen, and tip toed into the bathroom.  Again came the loud fluttering noise.  I flipped on the light, and the noise immediately stopped.  At first I thought rat, but rats don’t have wings that make flapping noises.  However, bats do….  The bathroom is very small, and I couldn’t find a thing.  As I walked out, I turned the light off, and there it was again.  By this time, my imagination took flight along with this enormous vampire bat trying to get out of his cave.  I flashed the light back on and out of the corner of my eye I saw a glimmer of movement in my dirty clothes hamper.  Relief …. Wait, no way…. That is bad news for sure.  I am very much afraid of bats.  As a child my Dad told me if a bat pooped on my hair I would go bald, so you can imagine what I thought about the bat in my dirty clothes.  I was determined to catch the culprit and was suddenly bravely valiant, which lasted only for a second.  I fearfully and timidly removed my clothes from the hamper, one piece at a time, so as not to disturb this creature of the night.  Finally, I was about ready to throw a plastic kitchen strainer over him before his fangs got me, when I realized it was a ginormous moth, like really, really big.  I captured and released the poor scared thing and tucked myself safely and securely back in bed. PicMonkey Collage2 I will never forget my introduction to Haitian squirrels.  Chris, Leslie, and I were enjoying one of our spectacular sunsets out on the deck when Chris pointed out something in the coconut trees that had jumped from one branch to another.  He said, “Look, there’s a squirrel.”  I saw him right off and thought how peculiar it was that Haiti actually had squirrels, even though this one looked a little different.  I posed the question, “Where is his tail?”  Right about that time I realized it wasn’t a squirrel at all.  It was a big giant rat.  No lie…. Jumping from tree to tree.  From that moment on I began my quest to rid Haiti of all of their rats.   I have an ongoing game of cat and mouse with my friends. So far the rats are winning, as evidenced by the bag of flour that landed two shelves down onto the floor.  They may be wise, in a most peculiar way, but they, most assuredly, are not wonderful. PicMonkey Collage1 One evening, as I was cooking dinner, I felt something crawl over my feet.  I jumped to the ceiling (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture) as the fear took my breath away.  I have quite a few furry creatures, with large black eyes and long tails in my house, but they usually only come out at night.  So once again my imagination got the best of me, as I envisioned some rabid mouse too sick to realize it is still daylight.  I began pulling everything out of the cupboards and moving things around on the floor, but to no avail.  That little furry creature was gone and good riddance.  As I went back to what I was doing, I heard the faintest of scurrying out of the room.  Quickly glancing down and expecting to find some red eyed varmint, gnashing its teeth at me, I saw a very quick thing scurrying across the floor.   There was the most adorable little fiddler crab I have ever seen.  I gently took him back to his home by the sea, asking him to please bring his whole family the next time he visited and we would have a crab boil for supper. PicMonkey Collage3 We have all sorts of creatures right here in my own back yard, some bright and beautiful, some not so much.  We have Iguana Lizards that are as plentiful as frogs are back home.  They scamper all over the place and are very entertaining to watch.  Speaking of frogs, I have my share of them as well.  These are not the cute little tree frogs that come out when it rains.  These are the yucky slimy ones with bulging eyes that suspiciously check you out.  One day, I had left a near empty pitcher of water out on the deck.  As I went to pick it up and take it inside something jumped up at me.  At the time it seemed much bigger than it actually was, but still caught me off guard nonetheless.  Lesson learned here, while in Haiti never pick up something without looking inside it first.   And no, there will be no frog legs for supper around these parts. I have a hummingbird who visits me every evening whom I have yet been able to capture on film, and a darling woodpecker just outside my window.  You don’t even want to get me started on the sand fleas, mosquitoes, and these little piti piti (very tiny) baby kin to mosquitoes called “No See ‘Ems” because you can’t see them but you can sure feel them biting at you.  They especially love ankles, ears, and necks. PicMonkey Collage4 Last night, as I went to wash the dishes as I do most every night, I found a little friend waiting for me in the sink.  Only this little friend wasn’t quite so friendly, and seemed very much aggravated that I had disturbed his wading pool.  It was the longest centipede I have ever seen, although I am quite sure there are larger ones.  He was really cute, with all of those little legs moving in unison with each other.  And then I saw this long stinger protruding out of his red tail end, and the cute did a 180 and became very creepy, in a matter of seconds.  As I took a couple of snapshots, the evil thing reared his head end up at me, like he could really see what I was doing.  So, then I tried washing him down the sink, and immediately he crawled right back up.  After numerous failed attempts I did finally wash him away, back down the hole from which he came.  Or so I thought.  As I commenced with my task at hand, I go to use my sink stopper, and there is the evil one, with his stinger ready to strike. This little bugger is freaking me out.  I threw my dish rag on top of him and he curled up in there like it was his snuggle blanket. That was too much for me. This little creep is a goner for sure.  I get him on a fork and throw him in a bowl of bleach water, and within seconds he acted like he had suffocated and flipped over on his back. I gave it a few minutes and then thought the least thing I could do for the poor little fellow is give him a proper burial.  I picked him up with a fork to take him outside (my local burial grounds) and that thing came back to life. Oh, my gosh, I screamed and threw him fork and all back in the sink. Good thing I sleep in the loft upstairs because there is no way I am going back down there until in the morning. He is possessed, I tell you …. creepy creature from the dark…  I found out much later that this little friend of mine is not only possessed, he is also poisonous.  He was gone the next morning, so I am simply believing that God calmed my fears and heard my cries, and took care of this creepy crawler for me. All of this got me thinking about all of God’s beautiful and bright creatures here in Haiti, specifically, the people.  I love their beauty and their grace, I love their fortitude and inner strengths, and I love their commitment to live a good life even though there are so many chains of oppression and poverty holding them down.  It is in their eyes and in their smiles.  It is in their continuous efforts to overcome the worst of circumstances through hard work, dedication, a sense for what is just and good, and a strong trust in God; they know that God sees their pain and hears their voices. PicMonkey Collage7 The last verse of this song pretty much sums things up quite nicely, “He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell, How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.”  Yes, He has made all things well.  The mosquitoes certainly know what they are doing and are quite good at it.  The fiddler crab is so adorable when he saunters sideways across the sand.  And my friend in the sink …. Well I am sure he has got a job to do as well, even if it is just to creep me out.  Lastly, He gives me eyes to see the beautiful people of Haiti.  And He gives me lips that I might be their voice and that I might be the voice that they need to hear that says, “He made all things well.” PicMonkey Collage6

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