“Well, for one thing it is nocturnal. It is a mammal, but it can fly by stretching out its extra skin like a flying squirrel. It also has a special kind of gland in its rear end that glows like a firefly when it is happy or excited. I wanted to be like Manitou and think about every detail before I created it in the real world. It lives only in oak trees and it feeds on acorns in the fall and winter and on biting and stinging insects in the spring and summer. It gets the chemicals it needs to glow from the acorns and the mosquitoes it eats. The other thing it does is it makes a sort of whistling sound as it glides through the dark. The sound and the light scare the heck out of larger predators like foxes and coyotes.’
“Now that I would pay to see,” said Nana, truly impressed.
“I was thinking that I would try it and then once I had it totally made I would open my eyes slowly and see if it worked. I had it done—I had it pictured in my head, but when I opened my eyes, nothing happened.”
Nana did not believe in magic and she certainly did not believe Jack had the power to create new species, but she couldn’t stop herself from asking, “Are you sure nothing happened? Because if something did happen, it wouldn’t be here in this room. It would be out in the woods. Right?”
“That’s right,” said Jack, hope rising in his voice.
“Why don’t you go to sleep now…I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow.”
“No. Really. I am awake. Tell me more, Nana,” pleaded Jack.
“Alright. Now where were we? Oh, that’s right. Each felt blessed to have everything it needed to survive. Well, these creatures pretty quickly settled into their places in the web. Each did its job and its job was simply to live its life as best it could. None took more than they needed and all remembered every moment that they had been given some very valuable gifts by Manitou.
“Millions of years passed in this way with the earth seeming like one large, living being from Manitou’s point of view under His oak tree up in Sky Country. Life there had a rhythm and a flow that were like infinitely interesting music to Manitou.
“And then one day, one small thing changed. No one is sure exactly how that one day was different from all the billions of others that had come and gone, but somehow it was. On this one day, when everything changed, Manitou found His attention wandered for just a moment. There He was, looking down at the way the Himalayas cast a shadow 1000 miles long across India and Pakistan and into Afghanistan, when something caught His attention elsewhere in the universe. He turned for a moment and in that moment one osprey flying over one small lake not very far from here had a new thought—a thought never thought before by any creature in all of creation.