Download MP3 Audio Track
What is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays.
(James Russell Lowell)
A “CYCLE” IS A PERIOD OF TIME DURING WHICH A SERIES OF REGULARLY REPEATING EVENTS OCCURS. There is, for example, a cycle that takes place as our hearts beat. First one thing happens, then another, then another, etc. — all in an orderly sequence, until the cycle is finished, at which time the cycle repeats itself. This happens over and over and over again as long as we live.
As the spelling of the word indicates, “cycle” is closely related to “circle.” Cyclical things are circular: their ends are connected back to their beginnings, and they go around and around. Some of the cycles that we invent are tedious and tiresome, but those in the world of nature should never grow old to us. They are marvelous.
If you live in a climate where there is a marked change of seasons, be glad. The cycle of spring, summer, autumn, and winter is a thing of wonder, and its wonder ought not to be lost on us.
There are many things in the world, like the seasons, whose enjoyment stems mainly from the fact that we don’t have them all the time. To enjoy something, and then not have it for a while but see it come around again, is one of life’s most pleasant experiences. As the seasons cycle through their yearly round, we are refreshed, replenished, and reminded of things we would forget if we didn’t have the seasons.
Today, of course, it’s in our thoughts that summer has come around again. Here is a season that most of us find it easy to enjoy, and this, it seems to me, is because summer is tied in so many of our minds to the intense happiness of childhood. I, for one, couldn’t agree more with Edith Wharton, who said, “Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” In the cycle of the seasons, summer will come around again next year, just as it did last year. But on this day of this year, summer’s just beginning. Let’s welcome it with high spirits.
“In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go out, and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth” (John Milton).