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Beauty is a Gift from God

Beauty is a Gift from God


Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not neither do they spin. Yet even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

No doubt everyone has stories of times when they saw beautiful plants or animals which quite took their breath away. Flowers are particularly good examples of this phenomenon. In the prairies of Saskatchewan and by roadsides there in June, the beautiful Western Red Lily (Lilium philadelphicum) is guaranteed to claim your attention. No wonder it is the provincial flower of that prairie province in Canada.

Flowers definitely turn our attention to the designer and creator of beauty. One could reflect forever on the beauty of flowers! Spring bulbs, tulips and daffodils in their blazing colours, cannot fail to give joy to the viewer. Then too, one could write books on the intricacies and amazing designs of orchids. The Boreal Forest in Canada boasts some beautiful wild species such as the calypso orchid of open pine forests, the large yellow lady slipper in open spaces of aspen stands, and the showy (pink) lady slipper of pine and spruce stands. For spectacular diversity in wild orchids however, there is no better place for viewing them than in South Western Australia. Of course, orchid breeders have taken these expressions of exotic beauty to entirely new levels!

Even non-flowering plants display beauty, although it is more subtle. As a teenager, I was very taken with the ferns of south eastern Quebec. Their life cycles were so interesting and so were those of the mosses, liverworts and club mosses. I transplanted some liverwort plants to a moist spot near our cottage. Every spring those liverworts duly produced lovely and delicate reproductive structures. I once persuaded a young man to place some of these plants under a plant propagating mist system. The liverworts did so well that it was impossible to get rid of them. Oops!

Of course, most people consider that if an organism moves, it is much more interesting than one that stays still. So yes, animals are an important part of everyone’s life list of beautiful life forms. I remember as a teenager standing on a large dock projecting into the sea at St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick. The water was deep and within it, pulsating by the hundreds, were Aurelia jellyfish, each about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, according to my recollection. We may not like jellyfish, but these were definitely beautiful!

At first sight, a region like the western prairie in North America may not appear promising for beautiful wildlife, but look again. Among the water birds on ponds and marshes, there are ducks, swans, pelicans and shore birds, enough to keep birding enthusiasts and hunters looking for more. In our own backyard in the city, there are beautiful small birds like chickadees, and a whole host of other feathered friends including grey partridges in the spring, ring necked doves native to Eurasia but resident locally year round, and fierce but exotically coloured predators like sharp shinned hawks. Their salmon coloured breast feathers are quite amazing!

My special joy is a large aquarium full of local pond creatures. There may be white hydra which are built sort of like a sea anemone or upside-down jellyfish. About 1 cm long and 1 mm in diameter, it is easy to see them attached to the glass walls, dangling their tentacles in hopes of catching a water flea. There also may be mosquito wrigglers, crane fly larvae which hover motionless some distance down in the water, and on surfaces there may be dragon fly larvae, damsel fly larvae and so much more.

How could we not give glory to God who designed and sustains these organisms? It is time to give credit where credit is due. God has provided beauty throughout nature and our response must be heartfelt gratitude.

March 2022

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