Appreciating the Golden Ratio of Nature
Because Death Valley is considered one of the hottest places on earth it never elicited a call to visit. After seeing the striking beauty in a friend’s recent pictures of this national park, I became intrigued and decided to lead a group of 25 hikers there. Little did I know that my experience of looking at nature as a form of art was my impetus to study the golden ratio of nature (simplified as the geometric relationship), and its effect on my personal tranquility following this trip.
When an individual steps foot onto a land of desolation with no manmade amusements in sight, it becomes immediately apparent that nature has a story to tell. Standing in Death Valley exposes Badwater, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea-level. This stark, white-washed floor is an evaporated salt pan shaped into a design of never-ending hexagons that spans the valley basin. On a clear day overlooking the lowest point, the eye spots the highest point in the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney. Aside from this breathtaking juxtaposition, there is a panorama of mountain ranges visible. The entire view captures an art form 1.7 billion years in the making. To stand and witness the convergence of all of these pleasing shapes, colors, artistic strokes, perfect proportions and symmetries truly exposes the equilibrium of nature that calls to us at a deeper level.
There is a design code of nature that exposed itself as I went searching for answers related to nature’s golden ratio. The ratio is called Fibonacci and was a mathematical theory coined by Leonardo of Pisa, considered one of the greatest European mathematicians of the Middle Ages. Without going into technical details, the Fibonacci sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21. When you divide a number in this sequence by the number before it, the output is a number very close to 1.618 which is phi. This is a well-known number in the arts, with origins in nature as any element in nature is proportional to phi. The number is used to achieve beauty and balance in art. Just the mere understanding of this code without being a mathematician uncovers the natural geometry and formula that exists as we take a walk in the woods. Analyzing trees uncovers the spirals of the trunk and the structure of how branches grow out of the tree in pattern. Flower pistils all possess a spiral sequence of intricate design. The veins of leaves branch off in outward proportional increments that reflect the Fibonacci formula. The eye of a storm spirals, gathering energy. Sitting on the top of the sand dunes of Death Valley, I witnessed the crest of sand dunes that undulated, one after the other with their arcs, bends and carvings illustrating a quality of perfection.
One way to immediately connect with nature is through finding these contours and design reoccurrences and recognizing them as fingerprints of divine expression upon this earth.
Nature resides within us and around us to reaffirm the attunement to the celestial. We just need to be aware and receptive to discern the marvels of the universe.