Editor’s  note: This posting was authored by Pat Ford. Many years  ago, Pat served as the executive director of ICL. Most recently, he was  the executive director for Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. Pat lives in  Boise, Idaho, and periodically contributes to the ICL blog.

“It was God’s will that by a mutually related circle of birth and death, transitory things should be given stability by instability, endlessness by endings, eternity by temporariness, and that the series of things should ever be knit by successive renewals of birth.”

This sounds contemporary, of our time. It has ecological insight, whispers of Darwin, and a lovely simple expression of life’s condition. It was written around 1170 by Alan of Lille, in his part-poem and part-prose Latin allegory, Plaint of Nature.

850 years later, some will get stuck on the first four words. If so, change them to "It is Nature’s way…."

Alan’s work is a dream of a conversation between himself and Nature. Wendell Berry thinks it is the first appearance in western literature of she who has spanned religions, and non-religions, and still speaks to many who diverge on other things: Mother Nature.