I call it: Copacavaca (because the other name is too long).
In the early 90’s, shortly after the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu, I had the privilege to spend about a month in Romania. There I visited many cities, including Bucharest, Alexandria, Timișoara, Arad, Pitești, etc. The people were more than wonderful. The forests, however, were darker than any I had seen before. Literally, they soaked up light like a sponge.
One day, while walking through one of these dark forests, I was made keenly aware of the possibility of some creature in the trees above me. Being mindful of the legends associated with Transylvania, I could not help but imagine myself as one of those hapless tourists pounced upon by some non-mythical monster heretofore thought imaginary.
I thought to myself, “What could be above me, right now, which I might never expect? What kind of creature would be impossible to believe, therefore capable of living in obscurity, except for when it feeds?” It couldn’t be a vampire or werewolf. It had to be something totally off the wall. It had to be something as unthinkably dangerous as Clark Kent was powerful…then it hit me (not literally)… “Vaca.”
Just the day before I had learned the word. “What do you call those big animals in the field that go mooooooo?” I asked. “Vaca” was the reply. Vaca. Now, above me in the trees, my mind imagined an animal so dangerous, so heavy, so tired of being milked and eaten between buns – the Vaca din Copac, the Romanian Tree-Dwelling Vaca, the Copacavaca!
You see, when you walk through the woods in Romania, I would encourage you to be very careful. Just because you can’t see them, that doesn’t mean the Copacavaca aren’t there. They could be. If so, you could be in danger.
One thing you should know about the Copacavaca is that they cannot see very well – they hunt by hearing. It is when you walk through the woods and make noises like other animals (especially humans) that the Copacavaca realize you’re potential prey. They wait for you to walk under the tree they are in, then fall from on high to crush you beneath their massive weight. So, it is critical that you sound like them when walking among the pines (or oaks, cedars, maples, or whatever leafy, woody thingy is nearby).
I asked a friend who was with me if she had heard of tree-dwelling vaca. When she told me “no,” I demanded, in order to be safe, she make a sound to imitate the vaca. If not, the camouflaged, nearly invisible Copacavaca may mistake us for dinner.
“Mooo!” Do it again! “Moooooooo!” Louder! “MOOOOOOO!”
“Why am I making the sound of a cow?” she asked in frustration.
“Because that’s what the Copacavaca is – a man-eating, tree-dwelling cow.” For some reason, she didn’t believe me.
Imagination is profitable as long as it magnifies truth. Imagining things that don’t exist can be fun, but don’t take it too seriously. An over-active imagination can lead to irrational fears, like that of tree-dwelling cows. The imagination can even help us to see God from different perspectives; in different colors; with different expressions; however, don’t imagine Him to be what He is not. You see, the imagination can be dangerous when it creates a god of one’s own liking, replacing the God that is. That is idolatry.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. – Rom 1:21 KJV
Some people say, “My god would never judge anyone.” Other people say, “My god understands me…he made me this way.” Still, others are convinced that “God doesn’t care what road you take, just as long as you’re sincere.” What kind of god are they imagining? Certainly not the God of the Bible. Maybe he’s a fairy that lives in the woods?
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If you want to know more about the Copacavaca, then maybe I can think of something else. I certainly have a wild imagination. Who knows, we may be looking at the next Dracula, only with for legs and utters (quick, somebody contact Chik-fil-a).
However, if you want to know more about the true God, read the Gospel of John in the Bible. And while you’re at it, try to imagine yourself huddled next to a campfire, late at night, as an old man shares the amazing story of what he saw – that you might believe (John 20:31).
On a side note: Please pray for Romania
- PM: Violence Could Destabilize Romania (myfoxphoenix.com)
- Romania: Protesters Angry Over Austerity Clash With Police (ibtimes.com)