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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pattern Recognition

If one reads enough science magazines, one absorbs the idea that a key evolutionary survival characteristic is the ability for animals to recognize patterns. The hominid process of elaboration on this particular ability has resulted in things like superstition, the ability to recognize patterns where they don’t really exist.

Spring at Smith and Bybee Lakes isn’t a clear cut process. Trees rooted at the edge of an uncertain lake can’t decide if they’re waking from winter slumber or drowning. Yet life displays its exuberance to propagate in forms besides budding tree branches, like this head-start patch of Irises schooled in vowel forms.

In one of those annoying coincidences that are used by people to prove there aren't any coincidences, I had been told about Zen masters who spend inordinate amounts of time, painting and repainting Zen circles just days before venturing out to the lakes. Like most things about Zen, the importance of painting simple looking circles over and over largely escapes me. Regardless, I was primed to see circles almost everywhere after thumbing through a book that was filled with pictures like this one. (I apologize. I haven't been able to find the source for this picture ... I'm still looking) It won’t be long before the winter’s moratorium on growth is broken and ‘life’ will begin again to write its green ‘O’s of promise, another well known pattern that addresses rebirth and hints at eternal life.

As Spring wore on into Summer and Summer slid into Fall, I would periodically visit and chronicle nature's repeating expression of birth, death and rebirth. Representative photos of this process can be seen at,

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