Curiosity and Discovery

by Christine Sine
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post and photos below by Sue Duby,

In the dripping humidity and heat of Arkansas summers, any chance for an enjoyable walk requires an alarm-clock-setting wake-up. Usually, a stiff nudge from Chuck, a loud groan from me, a bleary-eyed grab for tennis shoes, and a shuffle down the driveway, pave the way. 

Around the corner, while we still struggle to fully focus our eyes, a gentle voice cuts the air… “Good Morning!”. It’s sweet Miss Lilly; our 80-something neighbor. In her favorite porch chair, coffee in hand, eyes twinkling, a smile that says, “I’m so very happy to see you!”. Always on the alert for whoever might pass by. We’ve adopted her as our neighborhood greeter, cheerleader, and historian. She knows everyone’s names, who just joined our tribe, what landscape projects need attention and which neighbors need help. All with a heart of grace.

Her life challenges us. Her joy is contagious. She smiles when sharing her secret.

“Every day is an adventure. So much to discover!”. Her curiosity never wanes. Discovery of new wonder is always just a breath away. We want to be like her when we grow up!

I quietly whispered to Him, “I want to be more curious like Lilly”. His creative ways to answer requests and teach new lessons surpass anything I could ever imagine myself. This time, with spiders and bagworms.

One night, heading to the hot tub before bed, the moonlight saved me from a full face plant into a massive spider web. I first noticed a yellow spider, anchored to a silk strand, blowing gently in the breeze. I grabbed a flashlight to investigate (a baby step in curiosity). Stunned, I discovered a two-foot circular masterpiece! Intricately woven, a few circle strands yet to be set, a few moths already captured and the spider scurrying to finish his work while bugs filled the airspace around him.

curiosity and discovery 1

I yelled to Chuck, “Come see this!”. As I moved the flashlight, we gasped… a second equally masterful web (and spider) hung just a few feet away. 

The next morning, no trace of either web could be found. We spent the next few nights cautiously entering the night with flashlight in hand. Curiosity yes, but honestly, protection from being tangled in a big web! For three evenings, the first spider returned. Starting his web all over again at night, only to have it vanish by morning.

Curiosity took hold. I scoured YouTube for spider videos. They complete webs from start to finish in 30-60 minutes and only after dark. Spiders are able to distinguish between a breeze on their web and a bug landing for dinner. They spin two kinds of silk… one for tough main strands and another with glue to help capture prey. Whoever knew???

curiosity and discovery 2

Just a week later, our second lesson in curiosity unfolded. Taking his daily “assess the landscape” walk, Chuck discovered the entire back half of a favorite screening tree gone…  no green needles, just brown sticks from top to bottom. Peering a bit closer, he found some strange “looks like baby pinecones” hanging from all the remaining branches. He picked one, gently squeezed (pinecones don’t squeeze!) and out popped a slimy worm. He rushed inside. “We have a problem!! I need your help!”. 

A quick internet search identified our foe… bagworms. Chuck’s curiosity led him to some wild facts. Bagworms spin a cocoon-like bag using their silk and needles from the trees (for camouflage). One female can lay over 500 eggs. That news sent us on a crazy four-day rampage, picking bagworm cocoons off four trees. Over 400 later (really!!), we sighed, hoping next year’s season will reward our efforts.

Both adventures felt like God-scripted lessons. With principles to grab beyond the wild world of nature and bugs. 

Curiosity is a choice. Many days, life passes by with lists of tasks, routine duties, and a “same old thing” mode. Yet each day, His invitation is there… waiting…  offered to us. Whether bugs, people, places, books, landscapes… it all whispers “Be Curious!”.

Children seem to naturally fill their days with curiosity, discovery, and wonder. The crawdads in the creek. The lizard’s lost tail growing back on its own. The magic of bubbles popping in the air. The splash of a rain puddle. As we grow, curiosity wanes and takes a bit more effort. 

 When we choose curiosity, it awakens something deeper inside. It stirs us to long to discover more. And that discovery leads us to wonder. And wonder leads us right to Him… the creator of everything that made us curious in the first place. He planned the journey well, knowing us. The “want to know” (curiosity), the fun adventure (discovery), and the awe of His creativity and handprint on everything around us (wonder). May our curiosity never cease. May discovery always beckon. May our wonder in Him captivate us, always. Even in our own backyard.

  •  “Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” Exodus 15:11 NIV
  • “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Job 5:9 NIV
  • “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” Psalm 65:8 NIV
  • “… to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:4 NIV

Feature photo of cobweb by Kathie Hempel

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