People are always asking me: Jon Spruce, how would you define ‘nature’ using only one word?
One word? That’s easy. Patterns. The one word is patterns.
If you said cycles, I wouldn’t kick you out of the cabin. That’s an excellent word to describe nature but I can’t see nature's cycles in my lifetime and I certainly can’t see them tree-hunting on these city streets.
When I stare into the shaman’s fire and think in terms of nature’s endless cycles, I see images of Pangaea dispersing into continents, India crashing into China, dinosaurs surviving as birds, ice ages melting into rainforests, magma rocks building sedimentary shelves, underwater volcanoes sprouting sandy islands, drought and rain burying fossils, a 2.5-inch cone that I can squeeze between my fingers growing into the California Bigtree we call Sequoia and, above it all, the milky cloud-cover spinning forever around our blue planet. And moss. Lots of moss.
I’ll stick with patterns. When I’m out tree-hunting, I’m looking for patterns. The patterns help me identify the tree.
Maybe it’s the way the branches are growing – opposite or alternate? Maybe it’s the pattern of leaf shapes and sizes. It could be the bark or the fruit. If I can recognize the pattern that the tree is growing into, then I got a good shot at putting that tree into a family or a group, one step closer to knowing its name.
Patterns in trees.
I’ll show you what I mean.