Our need for routines and patterns is just natural

I can feel the summer season slowly ebbing into fall. Cooler mornings and earlier sunsets all tell me our carefree summer days are limited. Our summer trips are now treasured memories and work projects are winding down, almost done. In fact, some projects never started, but they can wait until next year.

The second cut of hay is done outside the fields, just before a week of rain. The produce is finally ripening at a rapid pace, and the autumn flowers are taking on their characteristic muted hues. As much as I love summer, I accept the impending seasonal change.

One reason is that I thrive on routine. It’s not just me, my whole family seems to thrive on a routine. After many carefree summer evenings that have turned into very late mornings, it’s time to embrace the predictability of a routine.

Patterns in nature

Nature is proof that we are not the only ones who need predictability. A short hike through the woods and past the garden reveals patterns woven into just about every living thing. Some even say it is a fundamental code woven into the smallest petals and the vastness of the galaxy.

The Fibonacci sequence is a list of numbers that follow the rule that each number is equal to the sum of the two previous numbers. To put it simply, the next number is found by adding the two numbers before it. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 are just the start.

The golden ratio is formulated from the numbers of the Fibonacci sequence. When two consecutive numbers are divided, the ratio is approximately equal to 1.618. Taking these numbers and drawing squares and rectangles on graph paper creates a spiral. This same spiral can be seen everywhere in nature.

Sunflower seeds and pine cones illustrate the spiral. The next seed fills the space without completely overlapping the previous spiral or becoming a straight line.

Flowers and trees

The number of petals on flowers is usually a Fibonacci number. Lilies and irises have three petals; there are five petals on each buttercup. Daisies are one of my favorite flowers. They can have 34, 55 or even 89 petals.

The growth pattern of tree branches and leaves is a Fibonacci sequence. The pattern, called phyllotaxis, was first observed in 1754 by a naturalist named Charles Bonnet. He showed that the branches and leaves of trees had a spiral pattern that could be represented as a fraction.

The sequence begins in the trunk, then extends as the tree grows and grows. The pattern starts from a trunk and then splits into two branches. Then one of the two branches splits into two, making three branches in total. The pattern continues upwards and outwards following the Fibonacci sequence.

In the arrangement and structure of the leaves, the Fibonacci sequence is also present. Plants cannot survive without photosynthesis. After the streak, the new leaves do not block the sun from the older leaves, allowing more leaves to get energy from the sun. This leaf arrangement also allows rain or dew to fall more directly on the roots.

The spiral can also be seen in the nautilus shell, as seen frequently on the cover of math books. This same design isn’t just in sea creatures, it’s also in the shape of the cochlea in the inner ear.

Thinking small, the DNA double helix is ​​another example. On a larger scale, the eye of a hurricane is yet another example in nature.

A return to predictable daily routines feels comfortable to me like my favorite jeans and sweatshirts. A well worn path was created in our late summer dry grass by my family using the exact same route every day. Deep in the woods, the same deer trail emerges in late summer.

By the start of September, Pumpkin Spice will be all my favorite flavors. Routines and patterns unite us and naturally connect us to nature.


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About Tracy G. Larimore

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