Li - Patterns in Nature

"the asymmetrical, nonrepetitive, and unregimented order which we find in the patterns of moving water, the forms of trees and clouds, of frost crystals on the window, or the scattering of pebbles on beach sand.”  Alan Watts

The Chinese word - 'Li' refers to the patterns in nature that are continually forming and re-forming around us.

  • fixed patterns
  • dynamic patterns
  • patterns within patterns
  • patterns in time
  • patterns in space
  • patterns that we create in our own minds through our unique perceptions of these patterns

The li can be seen as the ever-changing, ever-present set of patterns which flow through everything in nature.  And they flow through our perceptions of the world.

There are several ways of categorising the kinds of patterns found in nature

These are the 24 from the book 'Li: Dynamic Form in Nature' by David Wade (link below)
with examples from things I've photographed
Aggregation – collocation of elements (fungus spore print)
Anfractuous – winding and turning (my thumb)
Angulated – formed with angles (ice)
Brancha - branching patterns (tree canopy)
Breccia – breaking & separating (veins in rock)
Cellular – organic (onion skin cells)
Concentra – propagation around centres (knotted wood)
Contornare – physiographical configurations (Anglesey coast screenshot from Google maps)
Crackle – shrinkage patterns (dried mud)
Filices – fern-like (frost on window)      
Fracture – cracks in elastic material (ash bark)
Labyrinthine – natural mazes (mazegill fungus)
Licheniform – lichen-like (lichen mosaic)
Nubilous – cloud-like (clouds)¬
Phyllotaxy – dynamic spirality (red cabbage)
Polygonal – geometric quasi-regularity (honeycomb)
Retiform – net-like (dragonfly wing)
Rivas – river-like (flowstone in cave)
Ripples & Dunes – wind & current patterns (beach ripples)
Trigons – triangular (ice)
Variegatus – spots, speckles & scrawls (weevil wing case)
Vasculum – leaf patterns (leaf skeleton)
Vermiculate – worm-like (tubeworm cases)
Viscous Maculae – release patterns (paint on photographic paper)
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