All God’s creatures got a place in the choir.
Some sing low and some sing higher.
Some sing out loud from the telephone wire.
Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got.
-printed with permission of Bill Staines
That’s the chorus of a catchy little tune called “All God’s Creatures Got a Place in the Choir” written by American songwriter Bill Staines. After I first heard it, it rattled around in my head for a few days, including my regular volunteer day at RAPS’ Cat Sanctuary. There, we have just cats – lots and lots of cats – so the bit about other creatures didn’t really go with my surroundings. At least, that’s what I thought at first. Then I walked by Kris and Kringle’s cage – our two resident rabbits! They just doubled the number of animal species in “my” choir.
Now, why are those cats all lined up at the window? Oh, yeah – birds on the bird feeder. Just pesky starlings and on a tree, not a telephone wire, but birds nonetheless so – more creatures for the choir. There’s a huge birds nest in a tree at the back of the property but I’m not sure what lives in it. It probably makes some kind of noise so it’s in too.
As I was replacing stale dry cat food with fresh, I remembered that the old stuff is put out for the skunks and raccoons that hang out around the parking lot. Most people would consider these critters pests of the worst kind but they’ve got to eat too and they love the cats’ leftovers. Besides, the little ones are darned cute and they all make little squeaky noises! I’m sure that a few mice come and help themselves to the food too. The choir is growing by leaps and bounds!
Thinking about the rodents leads to thinking about what keeps their numbers below epidemic proportions – the coyotes that live in the grassy woodlands behind the sanctuary. Now, those guys can really sing! On sunny summer mornings, they’ve got their own choir back there! I quickly add them to mine.
The many wooden buildings that make up the cat sanctuary are prime real estate for wasp nests. We used to knock them down and destroy the wasps until the more kind-hearted and environmentally-conscious individuals among us put an end to that. So, the wasps can provide the drone for the choir, accompanied by the buzzing of the pesky flies who appear every summer. Any dragonflies that can evade the claws of the fascinated cats are welcome to join, but I draw the line at inviting the slugs to my choir, even if they could sing.
Take your places, creatures! Let the music begin!
Next time you’re at the cat sanctuary, enjoy the cats by all means, but look for the rest of the choir too.