An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of April 15, 2012
written in the woods not far from Natchez, Mississippi, USA

TERRIERS, SCHNAUZERS & WEEDS

Here I coexist with four dogs -- three Miniature Schnauzers and one Jack Russell Terrier. The three schnauzers lie around most of the day requiring no more than a pat and back-scratch whenever I pass by, but the Jack Russell Terrier works herself into a quivering state of gleeful anticipation at my approach and keeps the yard strewn with dead chipmunks and rodents obsessively collected from the surrounding woods.

It's interesting to look into the histories of dog breeds to learn what job each was bred to perform. Schnauzers arose in Germany during the late 1800s and were bred to kill rats, to herd, and guard property and children. Jack Russell Terriers were developed in England during the early 1800s to find foxes, badgers, groundhogs and other burrowing animals in their dens and either chase them out or hold them until the hunters could arrive. Jack Russells are mostly white so in the field at a distance they can be distinguished from their quarry, and their short legs enable them to easier enter burrows. To find such information, query a search engine using the breed name and the word "history" as keywords.

One reason I like to know such histories is that I'm fascinated by the idea of thoughts and feelings somehow being expressed in physical terms. What would "love" look like, or envy? Thing is, dogs of a specific breed are partly that: real-world manifestations of abstract hankerings of the humans who bred them.

Carrying the thought further, isn't that exactly what all the things of Nature (everything in the Universe) are -- real-life expressions of the hankerings of the Universal Creative Inspiration -- the "Creator"?

Moreover, as dog breeds say much about the humans who develop them, why wouldn't the things of Nature reveal something about "the nature" of the Creator?

For example, the existence of Jack Russell Terriers reveals to us that at least a certain part of humanity at least at one time felt compelled to persecute foxes and badgers in their dens. So, what does it say of the Creator that humans have been created requiring the services of Jack Russell Terriers? And that the same humans also are capable of everything from Auschwitz to Bach's fugues and Einstein's Theory?

The only common feature I can see uniting the worlds of human-created dog breeds, and Creator-created Universe is this: The Creator's passion for diversity.

Somehow when I view the broad spectrum of dog breeds, as well as forests and fields with their plants' benevolent photosynthesis alongside the animals' obligatory predator/prey relationship, and even all the bright and dark notions in my own mind, the only way I can make sense of it all is to conclude that the Creator doesn't concern Herself much with "good" and "bad," but She sure does like diversity.

Of what good is this insight?

For one thing, it suggests that people wanting to harmonize their lives with the general flow of the Creator's creation would do well to convert their monoculture lawns into gardens, or let weeds grow up, the more diverse, the better.

That's just a starting thought on the matter, but it hints at how much we modern humans must change our priorities if we are to accept guidance from the Creator's way of doing things, and live harmoniously (implying sustainably) with the Creation.