"That the notion of a fundamental discontinuity between humans and their natural world should have come to appear evident is itself a curious phenomenon. That notion is, primordially, radically counterintuitive. Humans, notoriously, live their lives in and as their bodies whose rhythm is integrated with the rhythms of nature. The cycle of vigor and fatigue echoes that of the day and night, the rhythm of the new moon and the full moon has its counterpart in the rhythm of a woman's body, and, less obviously, a man’s body as well. The cycle of the seasons harmonizes with the cycle of human life. In the quest for sustenance and shelter, for the sharing of lives and the care of the young, in the eagerness of youth and the fullness of age, the lives of humans intermesh with those of all animate beings. Drawing water at dawn, making ready to break fast, I watch the woodchuck at his grazing: I can sense with all the evidence of primordial awareness that he and I are kin. Resting before the house at dusk, I can see the porcupines with their young beneath the boulders on the opposite bank venture forth: even so I had once led my children on their discovery of the world. Hoeing the beans, I watch their tendrils groping for the strings I stretched for them – so I, too, have groped for support. I can understand the old age of my apple trees, living past their time: perhaps that, too, will be my lot.
I sense my own place in the rhythm of the seasons, from seed time to harvest, the falling leaves and the stillness of winter. Some tasks are, perhaps, uniquely mine, not shared by other dwellers of the field and the forest. I can cherish the fragile beauty of the first trillium against the dark moss, and I can mourn its passing. I can know the truth of nature and serve its good, as a faithful steward. I can be still before the mystery of the holy, the vastness of the starry heavens and the grandeur of the moral law. That task may be uniquely mine. Yet even the bee, pollinating the cucumber blossoms, has its own humble, unique task. Though distinct in my own way, I yet belong, deeply, within the harmony of nature. There is no experiential given more primordial than that."