No Fish Tale

by Dale Meyerhoeffer | May 21, 2021 | 0 comments

Spring was on the calendar and in the air. Bright sunshine, warm temperatures, and clear blue skies beckoned winter-weary children of all ages outdoors to enjoy God’s beautiful creation.

River otter
River Otter. Photo © Lacy/

After a long day of work, I was eager to enjoy a few evening moments perched on my bluff-top bench overlooking a creek below, a meadow beyond, and a backdrop of wooded hills and mountains. The natural setting formed a perfect outdoor theater to enjoy creation’s drama. I wondered if some creatures might appear on stage in the lengthening shadows.

As I took my balcony seat on the edge of the bluff, murmuring riffles downstream played a peaceful prelude to imminent action. Shortly, as if on cue, a single deer, then another, and another, then another, and another—too many to count—ventured single file into the meadow from behind the curtain of far-off woods. Soon the playful deer were romping like happy schoolchildren at recess. The deer show was delightful, but this was just the opening act.

The main feature opened with a key player entering underwater, sending surging waves across the calm creek. A river otter exploded onto center stage, frolicking in the clear water, dipping, diving, swirling, curling here and there as if to say, “Guess where I’ll surface next!” I wondered whether the lively creature was seriously hunting or just enjoying its playground pool.

Suddenly the otter dashed across the creek, swimming with lightning speed, obviously chasing a fish. Just as suddenly a great blue heron swooped down from a tree as if chasing, then overtaking, then splashing down just ahead of the otter! The otter halted abruptly, quite surprised by the aerial intruder. Amidst all the commotion of clashing competitors, the fleeing fish got away. There would be no fish this time for the furred or the feathered fisherman.

I hadn’t seen the heron perched in the tree. I suppose the big bird was just waiting on that opportune moment when the otter might dislodge a hiding fish. I had never considered that such different creatures would hunt the same prey, even race to catch the same fish.

The startled otter quickly swam offstage down the creek. The bold bird stood motionless in the shallows, apparently disappointed in missing a catch, before flying upstream around a bend. I could hardly believe what I had just seen.

As darkness closed the curtains of the natural theater, a chorus of spring peepers reminded me that the seasons, like days and nights, are cyclical, rhythmic, predictable, precisely timed and tuned. Creatures, too, generally follow instinctive patterns, but sometimes they surprise us unpredictably. My bluff-top theater became a place of worship as I contemplated the infinite wisdom and power of God, who designed the seasons and fashioned the creatures.

How privileged we are to witness God’s revelation of Himself through His marvelous creation! He deserves all our praise, honor, worship, and thanksgiving every day forever.

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