By Leon Lindley


Examples of  the cycles that exist in nature can be seen all around us. Bluebirds start nesting in April, snapping turtles and painted turtles usually can be found laying eggs along the trail in June. Fox snakes lay their eggs in July, about the time baby red squirrels start emerging from their nest holes. July and August is the time of butterflies, which coincides with the emergence of the prairie flowers. The fall is the cycle of preparation; preparing for our winter climate, some life leaves, some rest, some store food or extra fat to withstand our winters.

Nature’s cycles are a comfort for me like a favorite poem or song that evokes pleasant memories. I sometimes wonder if people forget that we are all part of the cycle of nature, that we are all woven together, interconnected and interdependent. I envision nature’s cycles much like the Celts envision the Endless Knot, bands intertwined in dynamic, moving harmony, each band dependent upon the other, and each complimenting and completing the other (from Stephen Lawhead, The Paradise War). If we all thought of ourselves as part of this common cycle or Endless Knot, we would not be so careless in our exploitation of this Earth.

Apparently, the idea of interconnectivity is not universal. The British scientist, James Lovelock, may have it right in his book, The Revenge of Gaia. In this book, Lovelock pictures the Earth as one giant, super organism that is self-regulating. Lovelock named this theory after the Greek goddess Gaia. He believes that global warming is giving the Earth (Gaia) a fever, and that the Earth’s reaction will be to fight it, much like a body fights a virus. I do not have space here to completely explain the Gaia theory, but suffice it to say, when Gaia fights the fever of global warming, it may treat mankind as an unwelcome virus.

Nature’s cycles are a very comforting thing for me. They give order. They give permanence. They mark our place in the world. We must never forget, though, that we are just a small part of a much larger cycle.