Saint of Creatures

On remembering each creature as its own message.

close up photo of bird perched on branch

You offered, in your daily practice, some reminders, such as: each creature carries its own message, its own metaphor, and how to recognize the animal soul.

If you have men who will exclude creatures from the shelter of compassion, you said, so will they do with other men.

You would speak with birds, who stayed with you until you said goodbye. You called after a cicada, saying Sister, sing, and she did.

Even worms, moving close to your path, were moved by you. Be safe, you would tell them, setting them back from the approaching feet.

Flash of ferret, oriole oracle, what you remembered with the rabbit; insect insight, iguana inspiration; the vision of vipers; signs and symbols you shared with the swallows.

Wonder of wolf, its terror transcended to peace in your presence; how did you know?

Had you a microscope, I wonder, what might you have made of the tardigrade, its ability to live in what others would call hell. What epiphanies would you have seen in these; about the limits we imagine for the living?

And I wonder what you would have made of the yeti crab, who appears like a child’s pet monster, hovering near the ocean’s hydrothermal vents? The mineral level is poisonous, but she carries colonies of bacteria in her pincers to null what would kill. What songs could you hear in her patient waiting in those depths?

And I’d love to know what you’d make of the sea creature that reverts to infancy after maturity, who renews herself again and again, body without a seeming end. What would you say to her, and how would you learn to listen, over time, to the bass-beat of her endlessly whispered devotion?

Notes:

Inspired by the coming feast of St Francis, as illuminated by Richard Rohr’s Every Creature is an Epiphany, from his Daily Meditations series at the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC.org).

and also by Mihei Andrei’s article Meet the World’s Only Immortal Animal on ZME Science

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I am here to wonder out loud. The point is not to get a clear answer, a complete picture, but to remember how incomplete the picture is, to embrace the process once again, of discovery, of questions, to notice the stirrings of wonder. To leave crumbs behind, for the next traveler.

Leave a Reply