The cliffs and the pebble beach at the Storms River Mouth at Tsitsikamma show a wealth of patterns in the rocks:
Dendrology is the study of trees. The term has the same root as dendrite which comes from the Greek dendron, meaning tree. Who would have thought that having to wait for a while outside the local electrical shop would yield such a beautiful source of dendritic patterns in the stone cladding of the building – one I have either walked past or have parked outside many times:
Although they look like fossilised imprints of ferns or minute trees, they are actually the result of manganese oxides that have crystallised on the surface and are fairly commonly found on sedimentary rocks.
Despite the ongoing heat, nature has its own way of signalling the approach of autumn: in our garden the Erythrina caffra leaves are turning brown and swirl about in the breezes to land in layers on the lawn and bank up on the sides of the driveway; many of the weavers are starting to lose their breeding sartorial sharpness and look tatty and unkempt; and then there is the appearance of the butterflies.
The appearance of the velvety brown Cape Autumn Widow (Dira clytus) is a sure sign of the impending autumn as these butterflies only appear during March and April. True to form, they tend to fly very low and are not as easy to photograph as one might think. I ‘captured’ this one in the long kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) growing at the fort in Post Retief, in the Eastern Cape. I think this one is a female, but cannot be sure – images I have seen of males show more orange than yellow – and it may well have been laying eggs in the thick grass.
The wing pattern shows prominent yellow circles surrounding the black dots with blue centres. There is generally a reason for the specific colouring and patterns that appear in nature and so I assume this dramatic pattern must serve the purpose of repelling the birds that would otherwise eat them.
It has rained a little in the Eastern Cape – enough to transform the countryside into a verdant green dotted with some magnificent wild flowers. During a recent trip to Fort Beaufort and Post Retief, I couldn’t resist the beauty of these Common Gazanias growing next to the road:
The Gazania krebsiana has an attractive centre pattern:
These pretty white flowers are blooming all over the veld – I haven’t been able to identify them:
Purple patches of Wild Verbena (Pentanisia prunelloides) hug the road verges and are scattered throughout the veld.
This Plumbago is growing against the shoulder of Victoria Bridge in Fort Beaufort:
Lastly, the lovely Acacia karroo (now known as Vachellia karroo) or sweethorn brightens the countryside with its yellow puffball-like flowers.
Patterns are pleasing, be they in the form of shapes, colours, words or numbers. Look at the pattern and colouring of this lizard in methylated spirits:
Palindromes are words, phrases or numbers that can be read forwards or backwards without changing the meaning.
Think of MADAM
What about MADAM I’M ADAM
Then there is the famous quotation ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA
A simple palindrome number would be 12321
As anyone who has formally learned to type will know, we also get Pangrams which are sentences that make use of all the letters in the alphabet. The most commonly known one is
THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER A LAZY DOG
I do not have a photograph of a fox so a Black-backed Jackal will have to suffice:
I also like HOW QUICKLY DAFT JUMPING ZEBRAS VEX
Numbers have an attraction of their own. I was reminded of this the other day when I received an e-mail about Albrecht Dürer’s MAGIC SQUARE in which all the columns and lines add up to 34.