One day, as my husband worked as an interpretive naturalist, a boy of about 6 came up to him, looked him square in the eyes and said, “Mr. Paul, are you a paleontologist? Without skipping a beat, Paul replied, “No, son. I’m just an old dinosaur.” The answer seemed to satisfy the boy and wasn’t far from the truth. He was nearing 70 at the time he took this job.
For a few years in his time after retirement, he began working at a nature center. All of his years of experience in nature, wilderness and knowledge of the outdoors was enough to land him the job. He loved it, because not only did he get to share what he knew with young people, but it gave him the opportunity to be in nature – his favorite place to be
Many of the young naturalists had not really experienced life in the wild, as Paul had. Their knowledge came mainly from what they learned in college and the vast information on the internet. Having spent most of his life learning through experience, may have given him an advantage, because he knew all about different birds and their habitats, wildlife of all kinds, how to track an animal, look for signs in the forest and survive in it if necessary.
I often refer to my oldest grandson as a walking encyclopedia. The second grandson refers to himself as a pocket dictionary with pages missing. Paul is the granddaddy of knowledge of most everything to do with nature and a lot of other things too.
Kids have always naturally gravitated to this man. I remember when we were first married and the kids in the neighborhood would come over and ask if he could come out and play. Part of their interest was stirred, because of how interesting he made things. He could show them through nature how meticulous creation is – how precise and perfect God’s handiwork is – how all creatures are created in a way that enables them to adapt to their environment. He’d spend hours teaching them to whittle. His stories captivated them as well.
Many times, as he’d trudge through the woods with the eager learners, they would hum the theme song to the Indiana Jones’ movies. They even referred to him as Louisiana Jones once. He does own a hat and leather jacket that resemble this character. Of course he is a man of many hats.
All the many facets of Paul are part of God’s great design. Each one of us is unique. He just happens to be unique in a lot of different areas.