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Lessons From Lichens

Lessons From Lichens

“By stripping off the bonds of individuality the lichens have produced a world-conquering union. They cover nearly ten percent of the land’s surface, especially in the treeless far north, where winter reigns for most of the year. Even in a tree-filled mandala in Tennessee, every rock, trunk, and twig is crusted with lichen”. — David Haskell in his book “The Forest Unseen”  Lichens are both very beautiful...

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Patterns In Nature Contain Symmetry

Patterns In Nature Contain Symmetry

Because we humans are pattern seeking organisms, symmetry has always fascinated us. We view symmetrical objects such as the regular repeating patterns of ancient pottery, weavings, and tilings as pleasing, proportioned, balanced, and harmonious. Patterns in Nature also possess symmetry in space or in time. Since the description or classification of many patterns in Nature is difficult,  symmetry is a handy “device” for...

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Stars, Bubbles and Beehives – Complexity Joined

Stars, Bubbles and Beehives – Complexity Joined

In an attempt to synthesize and to simplify, much has been said about the idea that patterns in Nature can be described with simple physical laws. This idea has appealed to mathematicians, physicists, and others who adhere to the reductionist world view. While it is true that physical laws play a very important part in pattern formation, they are only part of the story as the honey bee demonstrates. My story begins with the stars —...

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A Meeting At Guerrero Negro

A Meeting At Guerrero Negro

The story about patterns in Nature is a story about order. And, what could be more orderly than a regularly repeating pattern over time? Things like cycles and synchronization. Heartbeats, ocean waves, day and night. And also gray whales. One of Nature’s really intriguing patterns in time is the annual 12,000 mile round trip migration of some 20,000 gray whales. This journey is one of the longest animal migrations known to man. Every...

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Going With The Flow

Going With The Flow

One doesn’t usually think of water as a pattern in Nature. But when you stop to think about it, waterfalls, rushing streams, ocean waves, and the ripples in quiet lakes are interesting and sometimes breathtaking visual patterns. And, of course, the phenomena that drive these patterns are patterns in themselves. Within the beauty created by water are currents — the flow of water. In the oceans of the world, many life forms,...

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The Ironwood And The Cactus

The Ironwood And The Cactus

Fortunately, the opportunity to actually engage patterns in Nature comes to me often.  As time passes, I will be sharing some of these experiences and my thoughts about these experiences with you. One of my very favorite places to camp is Ironwood Forest National Monument (I just call it “Ironwood”) west of Tucson, Arizona. This public land is managed by BLM.  BLM describes the tract as  “Taking its name from one of the...

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