Seeing God’s World

Red eft in VermontAccording to Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.”

One thing that nature photography does when it is at its best is help people understand more about the world. If you think about it, the idea of saving and protecting God’s world is a pretty big undertaking. Most people have seen relatively little of the world’s nature, God’s creation. Telling someone that they must protect God’s creation is a pretty abstract command.

Photographs give a concrete vision of nature in very specific terms. They give all of us a chance to both share and see more of the natural world. I have never seen a musk ox, for example, but I know what they look like from photographs and am amazed by these creatures of the cold north.

The little creature at the top of this blog entry is a red eft, a terrestrial stage of the Eastern newt, a salamander. Most people never see them, yet they are an important part of the Eastern woods and forests. When people don’t “see” things, those things often don’t exist for them. God may have had special plans for red efts that only He can know, so that is a reason to honor and respect such a creature. But if people don’t know about red efts, then there is no concern for them. Photography helps teach people to see and helps them understand the world.

My prayer is: Dear God, help me to see the world around us as you would have us see it, not as we want to interpret it through our human perceptions. Help me to capture that world in photographs that I can use to help other people see this world, too, so they might give you respect and honor by conserving your creation.