Zebra Stripes, Creativity, and God!
I have been in Orlando, Florida for a week now working on a slew of writing projects. My co-author and friend, Mark Sutton lives in Orlando. I came here for a “writing week” to work on my fiction projects and to meet with Mark and work on our upcoming depression book. Most of the week I spent working on our “platform” to promote not only the depression book, “Conquering Depression” but also for my own fiction work.
My wife had to stay home with her home bound mother (who lives with us) so there were many days I was totally alone and very “lonely”. It is in those moments that I tend to get depressed. For me, depression is a constant companion; a buried and mostly subdued beast that, like Jekyll and Hyde, tends to dominate my mood when my defenses are at their weakest. Fortunately, writing and creative endeavors tend to help push the beast back into its cage.
I am currently sitting on the terrace overlooking a savannah. At “Kidani Village”, the Disney Vacation Club villas that are part of Animal Kingdom Lodge, there is a huge open savannah surrounded by the villas. It is populated by zebras, ostriches, Thompson’s gazelles, Bongo cattle, and wildebeest (no stampedes, please!). I am sitting in a rocking chair looking down upon three zebras engaged rather lazily in the process of eating what must be for them a scrumptious feast of grasses and grains. In the distance, the gazelles are doing what gazelles do best; leaping and frolicking. The sky is partly cloudy with an occasional cloud and drops of cold rain. The wind brings a balmy breeze in the upper 70s and it is truly relaxing. And, inspiring.
I read an article a few months ago about the stripes on the zebra. The traditional thinking has always been that zebras have stripes to help them blend in with the savannah. But, as I watch them move in and out of brown and green grasses, I can’t imagine how the black stripes can blend in. I suppose to color blind animals, the black stripes against a pale brown grass wouldn’t make any difference. But, to me, the stripes just make them stand out. Here I am! Come and get it! Dinner is ready!
But, an amazing scientific experiment has shown the true reason for the stripes. A group of biologists placed white placards with differing types of black and white patterns on them near a watering hole in Africa. The placards contained an odorless, tasteless adhesive. The goal was to determine what kind of insects and just how many insects were either attracted or repelled by the pattern. The discovery was amazing.
The stripes of the zebra (and by inference, the tiger and other such striped creatures) tend to disrupt the normal visual pattern of the multi-faceted eyes of certain types of biting flies. In other words, the stripes are not there for camouflage. They exist to repel these flies. What an amazing development! Or, was it?
You see, I believe that far from a mere development, the stripes are an element of design. I believe in a hands on God who designed these patterns for the protection of the zebra. I see the stripes as far more than just an evolutionary development. I see them as evidence for a caring, creative God of the universe. But, that is just me, I suppose. So, I will sit here a bit longer, reveling in the cool breeze, the occasional rain drops and the pleasing, relaxing movement of the zebras. And, in that process, I am closer to God than I was an hour ago!
To show you how stripes can reflect the creative power of God, check out this amazing video: