Thursday, April 3, 2014

Photo A Day, Day 3: Shapes

The word “shapes” to me implies regular geometric shapes: circles, squares, trapezoids, ovals, rhombi, rectangles, parallelograms. Other, less mathematical shapes fall into the category of “organic shapes”: crescents, quatrefoils, crosses, stars, teardrops, hearts. There is an infinite number of shapes that don’t even have names, because every one is unique: the shape of a particular pear, or amoeba, or fingernail, or stick. Every bit of matter in the known universe has a shape. If you look closely enough at just about anything, you will find identifiable, distinct shapes. For example, I caught a glimpse of this fascinating view as I was helping my daughter put on her bike helmet this afternoon.

The bricks are regular rectangles in a repeating, even pattern, but superimposed over them is the shadow of irregular, forked tree branches, and adjacent to them is the even oval of the bike helmet filled with teardrop- and leaf-shaped cutouts. I love the jumble of shapes and patterns; the juxtaposition of regular and irregular, of predictable and unexpected.

It’s a lot like life: there is a certain comfort in predictability and regularity, but at the same time, it can get a little boring. And if everything were unpredictable, life would be scary and uncertain. So the most beautiful combination is a little bit of regularity and a little bit of unpredictability. Rectangles and irregular polygons. Bricks and branches. The many shapes of life. 

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