El Yunque

Patterns seem inherently meaningful. A pattern is like a language with its particular grammar, variations, and exceptions, a stylized combination of symbols. Fallen pine needles on a forest floor, the rhythm of a dripping faucet, the white lines and red crest of a pileated woodpecker, the striped leaves of a Dracaena are not so different from the brushstrokes of a Van Gogh painting, the knots in a rug, the chords in a song. All around are signs of syntax, rules, parameters, and principles—it’s a veritable atmosphere of intelligence. That buildings do not fly apart, that cars climb hills, that traffic lights go green yellow red through the years—are these not everyday miracles of order, stability, and silent, invisible laws in operation? Two and two will always be four and the rain will always make city streets shine and the headlights blur romantic and in certain climates conjure an earthy smell, and the humans will predictably pull out their umbrellas, those circles of segments impossible not to twirl.

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