• 79°

Kings on March

Several years ago, Mary Ella and I flew to Phoenix, rented a car and drove to Los Angeles to see Florida State play Auburn in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. On the way, we took the southern route along the border to San Diego where we spent the night. The next day we visited the San Diego Zoo; I’d heard about it all my life and especially wanted to see their pandas… Bai Yung and Gao Gao with their sons Yun Zi and Xiao Liwu.

Then last week, my grandsons received their April copy of the National Geographic Kids Magazine and there was a panda on the cover. Once endangered, pandas are the #1 endangered animal’s success story and it started in 2013 when Xiang was released into the wild. She was the first female born in captivity to later be released into the wild. Since then, eleven more giant pandas have been released back into the wild.

The #2 endangered species success story is the Florida manatee.

We’d been to a retirement seminar in Tampa and on the way home we stopped in Homosassa Springs and stumbled onto a manatee viewing site. We happened to get there at feeding time, during which a man tossed heads of lettuce into the water.

The manatees were in the first group of animals on America’s endangered species list in 1973 and two years later a group of children lobbied to make them Florida’s state marine mammal. They are best described as “gentle giants” and since they float or swim just beneath the surface of the water, are often hit by boats or cut by their propellers… so there are now lots of “go slow” zones to protect them.        

“And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” (2 Kings 19:15)

The God who created the heavens and the earth filled both with mysteries and wonders beyond imagination… perhaps to give us something to explore and discover. Some of them are small, like the Megaphragma caribea or fairyfly, the smallest animal (insect) in the world.

And some are large, like the blue-gray whales growing 80 to 100 feet in length and weighing 400,000 pounds with a tongue weighing 5,400 pounds and a heart about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. 

Now every time I look into the heavens or look around during a walk in the woods or open a book or magazine, I learn something new. It’s gift from my dad who told me to learn something new every day. And by the way, FSU won the game.