Monday, October 8, 2012


Sunflower Spirit, Jamestown, NC

I exited onto a spiraling loop during a recent road trip and experienced one of those rare visual feasts that sometimes await us around the next curve. Standing at the base of the loop was a field of brightly glowing sunflowers facing toward the rising morning sun in the east. Vincent Van Gogh was fascinated with painting sunflowers and they’re just as fascinating to photograph with the sun’s rays back lighting the yellow petals. I waited for the long rays of the lowering sun in the west to cast their light across the horizon and drove back to the field. Perhaps sunflowers could just as easily be called sun catchers the way they gather up sunbeams and give them color and definition. The bright colors in the sun not only attracted my curious spirit but there were also butterfly spirits deftly winging about the ripening seed faces. Whoever first named these bright reflections of the sun couldn’t have taken more than a second. These shining flowers don’t reflect light so much as they transpose it into a personification of the life force that sustains our planet.

Higher mathematics actually reveals a beautiful order underlying this seemingly chaotic world. The Fibonacci sequence of numbers is prevalent in many facets of nature such as the spiral of a chambered nautilus shell or the branching of trees. This sequence can be derived by starting with zero and one and determining the next sequential number by adding the previous two. The sequence appears to be one of the principal laws of nature. And they can be seen in the growth pattern of petals and florets in the sunflower to affirm its universal beauty and form.

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