Nature's Year

As we approach the end of another human calendar year, we realize that it has no direct relationship to the solar cycle, which defines nature's year.  Our modern calendar, the product of cultural and religious influence, is just another sign that we humans have split from the natural order of our home planet.  Indeed, early humans were more in touch with the seasons and, as a result, astronomical events such as the winter solstice played a significant role in their lives.

The astronomical year, defined by the time it takes Earth to complete one revolution around the sun, might, by human decree, begin on any calendar day.  Yet, if we divorce ourselves from cultural and religious traditions, we must acknowledge that the winter solstice (of either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere) should mark the beginning of our year.  After all, almost all life on our planet is dependent on solar radiation and nature's year is defined by the waxing and waning of that heat and light.

Weather cycles, vegetative patterns and animal behavior have evolved in response to the solar cycle.  While modern technology and global trade have left us relatively unaffected by the seasonal fluctuation of solar radiation, we cannot deny its vital role in the development and maintenance of natural ecosystems.  And, since our own welfare is tied to the health of those ecosystems, we must accept the fact that it is nature's year, not the human calendar, that truly governs our lives.