1879 History of Menard & Mason Counties
Published by: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street

Mason County

Page 447

The seasons, like many other things, run in cycles-not always of the same duration-but observation, extending over the last forty years, has satisfied the observer that dry, or moderately dry, periods, continue not longer than seven years. The earth, that is called inanimate, has many of the characteristics of the animated being. It cannot run more than seven years and maintain its reputation for cleanliness and healthfulness, without having a bath; and, the bath being ordered, the rains descend, until the big, rounded form of old Mother Earth has had a good washing and cleansing from the impurities that accumulate.

The year of 1844 was a flood year. In the month of June, there was more water upon the face of the earth, in the Western country, than ever known since the days of Noah's flood. The seasons then ran along in their usual coarse until the year 1851, when much water fell. The next wet spell was in about seven, or possible eight, years. The years 1867 and 1868, ending in the spring of 1869, were very wet years in this region of country, piling up the waters on the lowlands so that the muskrats had to build high houses to keep above water. The last wet spell began in July, 1876. Being the centennial year, there was a high old time, drowning out all the corn on the lowlands, and keeping up the spree for two long years! The valleys and sand hill were all filled with water, and the seepage from the higher to the lower lands caused lakes of water to be formed, and whole neighborhoods to be inundated in some parts of the county where water was never seen before. The sand hills take in the water-unlike clay hills, that run it off-and when the water gets down to hard pan, or clay strata, it flows out to the lowest ground it can find.

Having said something in favor of the periodic theory, it has been further observed that when the dry periods occur in the Eastern Continent, we have our wet seasons in the Western Continent, and vice versa. During the past two years, when we were so flooded with water that we would have been glad to have given it away, there have been some fearful famines in Asia and other parts, produced by the want of rain, that fell where it was not wanted. The change has already set in that will probably reverse this order. England and the Eastern Continent have this year been deluged with water falling from the clouds. Thus it may be observed that Mother Earth, in taking her bath, washes but one side at a time, and it may be further observed that the law of compensation is ever asserting itself in the adjustment of Nature's divine order, by action and reaction, which is the safety-valve of the universe.

Planets move in cycles, also, making revolutions in regular periods of time, as do the seasons, too. The tides are periodic, and many of the malarial diseases are periodic, as the doctors will tell you. There are numerous and gorgeously grand geysers in the Territory of Wyoming, spouting forth immense volumes of water-hot, cold and tepid-to the height of the tallest tree tops, and all of them are perfectly periodic-some long and some short-but all prompt and regular in their own time, like the breathing of animals.

The earth has many of the characteristics of an animal. The rise and fall of the tide once every twelve hours is but the respiration of the huge animal upon which we live; the great rivers of water that have their internal pass way, as well as those that flow upon the surface, are only the arteries and the veins that supply the life-blood to the animal; the great mountain range that extends the whole length of the globe from north to south is only the backbone of the animal; the mountains that swell up from the body of the earth are but moles and warts on that body; the great fountain of oil that lies in the bowels of the earth is what the plain-spoken butcher would call "gut-fat;" the thunders that roll across the vaulted heavens are but the electric sparks that snap and fly from the Thomas-cat's back; the shrubs and trees that grow upon the globe are but the hair and bristles that cover and clothe the body of the great animal; the mutterings and rumblings of the earthquake are only the eruptions and disturbances in poor Earth's bowels, and the opening of the huge crater, vomiting forth fire, ashes, stones and red-hot lava, what is that but the discharge of an overloaded and disordered stomach that may have taken in too much unwholesome food, or, perhaps, too much strong drink? Now, who shall say that the earth is not as much an animal as it is a vegetable or mineral substance? And who can maintain that the myriads of animals that creep, crawl, leap and fly over the earth's surface, and the millions of men who stand erect upon that same ground, are anything more than parasites that feed and fatten upon the body and blood of this same good old Mother Earth? And where is the man of science who will undertake to controvert the theorem that this living, moving earth is the "connecting link" that unites man with beast, and feeds and nourishes all from the bountiful bosom of one common motherhood?

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