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Playing God

Photo and story by Mark Renz

We've all been there...
We hear the frog
a pitiful squeal
like forcing air
through the narrow slit
of a full balloon
And we know death is imminent
for the little hopper that
just a moment ago
grabbed a moth
that made no sound
as it flapped its wings
just before dying
And we know
if the snake isn't careful
the crying frog
will alert a hawk
eager to take advantage
of a three-for-one sale
And we stare in fascination
feeling fortunate that it isn't us
in the jaws of the snake
or the gullet of the frog
And yet we feel for both
until that feeling awakens in us
a need to protect the weak
the vulnerable
Something we haven't always
recognized in our character
but now it begs us to intervene
to play God
to decide who lives and who dies
Yet with experience
we have learned that living and dying
is nature's way of keeping life moving
And perhaps the toughest part
about playing God
is knowing when to step back
and when to step forward
And soon the only sound I hear
is the screech of a hawk
as it stirs in me
another chance to play God