To my dear grandchildren,
The Pack Rat
"Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone; Thou hast made . . . the earth, and all
things therein . . . and Thou preservest them."
Pack rats are not like their cousins, the filthy, mean city rats. Pack rats are curious and have cleaner habits. They do not live in sewers and garbage dumps but live mostly in the mountains or on the deserts of western North America and Central America. Though they look much like the the ordinary city rat, there are differences other than their habits - their fur is softer and they have hairy tails. They are sometimes called "wood rats" or "trade rats."
They have earned the name "pack rat" because of their habit of picking up and hiding or carrying home bright or shiny objects that are small. As a result, their nests become full of unusual things - pieces of glass, aluminum foil, bottle caps, shotgun shells, nails or even brightly coloured stones. Getting into everything from attics to car engines, they steal their treasures, damaging electrical wiring and other things so that they become a nuisance. Sometimes they will drop or leave behind something they are carrying in favour of something more attractive. While prowling in a house, they have been known to chew a bright buckle off a shoe or a shiny pin from a dress, taking them and leaving something else behind. This is how the name "trade rat" was earned.
Pack rats build strong nests with two or three rooms in a deserted barn or cabin or in trees where they raise one or two litters a season. These nests are added to each year and may become five or six feet wide and just as high. If available, cactus prickers are woven into these nests as a defense against coyotes, foxes, dogs and other enemies. Additional safety is insured by building underground tunnels between rocks or tree roots for quick escapes if threatened while they are out and about.
Perhaps some of our readers are a little like the pack rat, always trying something new in exchange for something they have become tired of. The Lord invites us just to rest in Him and not to keep searching for satisfaction and happiness in the attractive things of this world. In the Book of Job, chapter 28, we are reminded about that searching: "Where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?" (vs. 12). "The exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold" (vs. 17). "God understands the way thereof, and He knows the place thereof" (vs. 23). "And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (vs. 28). How wise it is to follow His way and to "be content with such things as ye have" (Hebrews 13:5).
Love you all,