Late this afternoon, I was sat outside the back door of my home, idly contemplating the wild garden that rises up a gentle slope before me. The sun was hidden behind a cloud, but a warm breeze wafted the aroma of herbs past me, so I found myself looking at my wild rosemary bush, then more closely at some nodding sprigs of mint by the low stone wall that holds the garden back from the house.
It was a scene that was doubtless being played out in tens of thousands of gardens across Britain, but I found myself captivated by the sight of a honey bee crawling over the purple blossom atop a looping mint sprig. I was full of admiration for the ceaseless work that these beleaguered creatures carry out on behalf of us all, but I could not help but wonder at how staggeringly gorgeous – almost divine – the colours on display before me were. In a heartbeat, I remembered that they formed a part of some of the most beautiful lines of poetry I’ve yet encountered, from The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron:
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
In turn, for reasons I needn’t explain, my mind then swept to the bleak mountainside in Sinjar, so my thoughts were swirling with images that delighted and threatened to induce despair by turns. I know precisely why my mind made the associations it did, but when I came out of my reverie and glanced at the sprig of mint once more, I noticed a tiny snail on one of the lower leaves, a creature whose form you can clearly see at the top of this post, although its contours define a storm over the Atlantic seaboard of North America.
Like so many other things in nature, its lines conform to the Fibonacci Sequence, which helps to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all things, whether they be our shared humanity with the men, women and children praying for succour in northwestern Iraq, or else the intimate relationship between the form of a shasta daisy and that of a distant, swirling galaxy.