One of our motivations for living in the bus is to spend more time outside — outside in general, but even moreso, outside in nature. To become more aware of the rhythms and patterns of life that haven’t had human will imposed on them. To be aware of the cycles around us.

Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould writes about time having two components, time’s arrow and time’s cycle.

Time’s arrow is linear time, what we would call history, a way of looking at the past as a series of non-repeating events. Time’s cycle on the other hand is circular time, “fundamental states… immanent in time, always present and never changing”, as he puts it in Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle

Time’s arrow is all around us every day, it is the proverbial water to a fish, we exist so immersed in a world that views time as an arrow that we don’t even realize that’s something we think, however, subconsciously.

Time’s cycle though, that doesn’t get much press in our world. If you want the space to exist in time’s cycle for a while you’ll have to carve it yourself. I’m convinced this is why our forefathers recognized and celebrated time’s cycle where they saw it. It’s easy to live in time’s arrow, but it’s only at certain points on the arrow can you see the cycle happening as well. This why there have always been harvest festivals, planting festivals, hunting festivals, lunar festivals, seasonal festivals and so on. Nearly every culture prior to ours had them, and in more of the world than not, they’re still celebrated today.

I have a thing for solar cycles I guess. I was born a few hours before the winter solstice. My wife and I were married on the summer solstice. My son was born a few hours before the winter solstice. None of that was planned. It’s all synchronicity. Coincidence some would say. That’s the word for the the curious cycle-denying component of our culture. Not only do we ignore the cycle, we seem to want to deny it entirely.

Alternately, you could contemplate the possibility that synchronicities like that are not coincidence. That they have pattern to them, that the pattern might mean something or have something to say to you, even if it only turns out to be, “hey I exist too”.

Another pattern I’ve noticed in my existence so far is that whenever there’s a proposed dualism there’s also a third possibility half-hidden in the combination of the two. Time’s looping arrow that repeats though cycles but is a bit different each time.

There’s an equinox every autumn, but it looks a bit different each time.


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