On Natural Cycles

In our modern age, we lose sight of nature’s grand cycles. We discuss why it’s important to take a cue from nature’s transformation itself, and slow down.

If you have the chance to be somewhere away from civilisation, a wonderful thing to do is to observe how everything transforms without our interference. Cycles, more ancient than any town or settlement, take over almost automatically, repeating and adapting as if orchestrated by purpose. Some are easy to recognise: the caterpillar who transforms into a butterfly, the cherry blossoms in Spring, and fruit in seasonal abundance.

For whatever reason, nature is a pattern that repeats endlessly. It is a moment in time that does not stand still.

In our lives, however, time is counted not by natural cycles but by socially-constructed hours, minutes, and seconds. The final feeling is one that anything of importance is short – that to live in the moment we must rush, or fill the minute with a ‘hundred metres sprint’ (as put by Rudyard Kipling). Instead, we need to remind ourselves of our place in the cosmic cycle, the absolute breadth and length of time our earth has been repeating these patterns.

Carl Sagan, the renowned astrophysicist, once suggested that if the earth’s entire lifetime were a one year calendar, humanity would only have existed for the last few days of December. Before us, Ice Ages, dinosaurs, periods of gas and molten lava. Creatures we could hardly fathom today, once existed where our towns are. Polar scenes stretched across the Sahara desert. It’s difficult to imagine Italian beach terraces in sub-zero temperatures, but that was the world.

To get to where we are today, nature repeatedly transformed, building the patterns that would allow humans to develop into the species we have become. It didn’t take a half-hour lunch break, but billions and billions of years.

Transformation in nature reminds us that, even without our hasty ambitions or material needs, we need to let nature take its course. Because it will, regardless of what we do. Before hamburgers or smart watches, the energy of our planet was one – an ever-moving sensation that allowed us to enjoy true happiness: beauty, natural foods, and our relationships.

Today, it may seem as if the world is moving faster than ever. Remember, if you feel like you are left behind in the rush of our digital world, you are not. You are a part of nature, and nothing can stop the patterns of the earthly life cycle.

Embrace the harmonious transformation of the seasons and find yourself within them as a spectator and admirer. Remember which foods grow when, and how the cosmos influences our behaviour and moods. Enjoy the transformation in nature – it is the greatest show on earth.

Importantly, try not to rush anything. Take your cue from nature, and take a breath in time.