I remember a story my dad once told me. It was a story about a time when he was living as a boy on the edge of the great Okefenokee Swamp of South Georgia. His father was a watchtower man whose job it was to watch out over the swamp and report any wild fires which might begin from lightening strikes during thunderstorms.
One day my dad, who was maybe 10 years old or so, was walking down a trail there near where he lived along the edge of the swamp. He was tired so he sat down on a large log to rest. The log was hollow and he did not realize it. Suddenly from out of the end of the log came a mother skunk with some young ones following her!
Of course, to be sprayed by a skunk is a very bad thing. My father didn’t want that to happen so he jumped quickly to his feet and began to run. I asked him about what happened to the skunk. He never looked back to see, so he didn’t know if it attempted to rise up on its front legs and squirt its foal spelling spray at him or not.
My dad’s life during the few short years he lived along the edges of the swamp were filled, I think, with adventures. He told me of his parents awakening early and walking around in the house with heavy footsteps. They did this to vibrate the floor’s wooden boards so the snakes which had crawled into the house during the night would leave.
He also told me a story of taking spoiled bread and breaking it into pieces and leaving them on the front porch at night. Then he and his brothers and sisters would hide and watch out the window for bears which might come up to the house and eat the bread from the front porch.
He loved his days on the Okefenokee Swamp as a young boy. As I was growing up, he taught me to love it and respect all of God’s wonderful creation. The Bible teaches us that we are to take care of the world as good stewards. It was given to us to use for our enjoyment and for living, but we are to care for it. Unfortunately, many have forgotten that. (Genesis 1)
We who say we follow the teachings of Christ should also be mindful of how we treat God’s creation which has been entrusted to us. The book of Romans, chapter 1 verses 18-20, tells us that creation gives evidence of God to those who live in the world. If we abuse creation by polluting it and otherwise killing its natural beauty, we interfere with that. Maybe it is time we followers of Christ remember one of the first things God entrusted to us and begin to recover a sense of responsibility for it. We should use it as God intended us to… with respect.
My father lived along the edges of the Okefenokee at a time when it was filled with natural beauty and he was blessed by it. Fortunately, it has been protected since the 1930’s by the United States government so no one has been allowed to destroy its beauty. Today, it is a place where many go for bird watching, camping, and wildlife photography.
If you enjoyed this story, you can read other pieces I wrote about the Okefenokee in my book Okefenokee Tales which is available on Amazon.com .