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Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium),
Credit & Copyright: Dr. Bruce G.
This plant is a stonecrop, growing along the wonderful Umpqua River in southern Oregon.
The Native American tribe Makah, of extreme northwest Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, call this plant tcatca'kik or water plant because it has thick succulent leaves. While journeying, they would eat the leaves for the moisture if the spiritual safety of other local water was in question.
The First Nations people Hul'qumi'num of Kuper Island, British Columbia, Canada, use this plant as a poultice to help stop bleeding.
Beyond these traditional cultural uses, though, look deep into the rosette of leaves. There is not only a beautiful spiral symmetry of the leaf growth pattern, itself an ancient growth form. Do you also see a receding depth, a self-similarity of form?
There is a fractal-like pattern to the leaf growth, where the same relative shapes and design reappear the closer you look.
Likewise, as we look beyond our own cultural mores and into the depths of our personal needs, we can see much self-similarity in our hopes and dreams for the new year ... regardless if we arise from the Makah, the Hul'qumi'num, or any other place or culture on this globe.
From this tiny plant clinging to a riverside rock, consider the lessons for our own origins and futures. In the recognition of our own similarities may grow the promise of the new year.
Next week's picture: Ancient Forest Paths of France
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Bruce G. Marcot, Tom Bruce
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