I recently spent a couple of weeks on the road looking for contemplative experiences in Nature. Mojave National Preserve offers such an opportunity. Located about 100 miles southwest of noisy, congested, and run-down Las Vegas, Mojave National Preserve is the perfect contrast. It is extremely quiet and has very few humans. Fire has left part of the preserve starkly barren with a few remaining Pinion Pine and Juniper trees here and there. But, from this mixture of life and death, a strange fractal beauty has emerged. I’m surrounded by thousands of fractal shapes. Dead trees with their magnificent, connected. self-similar structures making themselves available for we humans to see.
Here, I’m surrounded by an art gallery that displays a basic physical structure of life that we know as fractals. Little twigs connected to little branches which are connected to bigger branches which are connected to one or more trunks. All of this is supported by an equally complex and connected structure that we know as roots. Each level is similar to the previous level and the next level. We humans call this self-similarity – a magnified portion of a structure looks the same as the whole.
Here, I am viewing the fundamental geometric structure of much of Nature. My own lungs, kidneys, and blood transport system have the same structure as do these trees. So do river systems, ecosystems, and many fish schools, bird flocks, and animal herds. The self-similar fractal structure is a manifestation of Nature’s interconnected being.
As I engaged that scene in which I was privileged to experiernce, the host of barren trees, even in death, brought together the aesthetic, the spiritual, and the logical voices of Nature. My perceptive senses were awed by the aesthetic beauty of these fractal structures. My spiritual self reminds me that everything is connected. And, my logical self provides a factual basis for the beautifully connected geometry that was before me.
My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.