I love the flowing shapes of nature. The lines that speak of movement and energy and the simple, elegant designs. We build squares, but nature creates spirals and waves, like clear water flowing or warm winds blowing. I recently read some interesting words about natural patterns. From the book Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway:
“Anyone who has spent time looking at nature has noticed that certain patterns—spirals, waves, branches, circles—seem omnipresent and repeat at many scales. A branching pattern shows up in the convergence of streams and rivers visible out a jet window, in the graceful arch of a tree overhead and in its roots beneath us, and in tendrils of a tiny moss. Spirals appear in galaxies spanning thousands of light years and in the head of a daisy. We can see wave patterns in colliding weather fronts and at the beach, both in massive sea swells and in delicate sand ripples.
In all of these cases, matter and energy are being directed into an efficient form for supporting what is needed to happen. Branching patterns are ideal for collecting and distributing energy and materials; hence trees use them to gather sunlight and disperse water and nutrients. Waves and ripples allow two flowing bodies to move past each other with minimal turbulence. Each time we see a pattern such as these, it is nature’s way of solving a design challenge—of moving, collecting, harvesting, or dispersing matter and energy in a marvelously simple and effective way.” Hemenway goes on to discuss how these patterns can create a more efficient and richer garden design (Full book review forthcoming!)
Here are some images from the Olympic National Park and the Pacific Coast of these beautiful natural patterns.