Earth in rotation

On a night in May when a waning blue moon has risen huge on the eastern horizon, I take in the stars and planets shining bright in a clear sky. Palm trees along the street are silhouetted in the foreground. The scene couldn’t have been choreographed more beautifully. I’m full of awe and gratitude for being born in this garden spot of the universe.

I reflect on how the planets, the solar system and the galaxies are waltzing around their hubs as they simultaneously hurtle on their primary courses through space. The Milky Way and Andromeda, for instance, are on a collision course expected to happen in about 4.5 billion years.

Yet, there’s so much we can’t see with our naked eyes–the cells, molecules and atoms. And they’re all in motion. They may not be as predictable as the larger bodies out there, but they are contributing to the overall dance.

Following is an excerpt from that was written in February of last year. It illustrates the deliberate, organized movement found in nature.


“The patterns found in nature have fascinated scientists for many years. Humans have looked at the stars to find patterns – called constellations. Each day we experience a sunset and a sunrise – patterns caused by the Earth’s rotation around the Sun, which we call time. Patterns help us organize information and make sense of the world around us.

A pattern exists when a set of numbers, colors, shapes, or sound are repeated over and over again. Patterns can be found everywhere: including in animals, plants, and even the solar system!

Some specific patterns are called fractals or spirals. Fractals are patterns that repeat at different scales. This means if you zoom in on a picture, you will see the same pattern replicated, and much smaller, inside the larger image. Broccoli is a great example of a fractal because a small piece of broccoli, when zoomed in, has the same pattern as the larger head of broccoli.”

Art It Must Be

Even the scientific explanation of how the earth came into existence is a story of artistic creation. The early solar system was a cloud of dust and gas in a disk form. Swirling around with tremendous speed, the disk separated into super-hot rings. When the core was separated from the rest of the disk, the outer rings formed fiery balls of gas and molten liquid now revolving around the new sun. Eventually, the globes cooled into solid form and became the planets. The potter’s wheel at work, metaphorically speaking.

From a fiery mass to a virtual big blue marble covered with water and teeming with life is a transformation so rare that we don’t know of any others in existence. The beauty of our planet is unmatched, in my opinion.

The Elegant Word

Nature is sharply focused on Earth, speaking to us through trees waving in the wind, through birdsong, through the wailing of the whales and in countless other ways. As human beings, we shape the grace of our terrestrial home with creative language, hoping to place in the minds of others the rapturous images we have in our own. In that spirit, I turn to some illustrious writers for their thoughts that celebrate Mothers Nature and Earth. I had hoped to assemble several memorable excerpts from the works of writers. Well, as I went searching, I found just what I needed in one article called 50 of the Most Beautiful Quotes about Nature. It appeared in Here are a few samplings. Enjoy!

“ ‘Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What is it like?’ …’It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth.’ ” —Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” —Henry David Thoreau. 

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’” —Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” —Joseph Campbell

Feeling the Connection

Once while living in Santa Barbara, I drove to a saddle along a ridge where I could look down into a luscious valley away from the ocean. As I sat, drinking in the mountain beauty, the thought floated up to consciousness, I am the land. It was an expression of deep love for the earth.

Santa Ynez Mountains