Irma, Nature’s Patterns, and the “Wonder of the World,” SLR/IRL


The spiral is a pattern in Nature seen in many things…amazing!

As many people along Florida’s east coast, last Tuesday, I was completely prepared for record-breaking, Category 5 Hurricane Irma, to take my house away. She didn’t, but she did others, and the stress for citizens across our state, powerless, stuck in traffic, flooded, schedules off, schools closed, not able to work and create income, with downed vegetation strewn everywhere, is tremendous. It has been widely reported that at one point two-thirds of the state was without power; Irma’s evacuation could be the largest in United State’s history.

Yesterday, after a week in “hurricaneville,” I decided to drive north to the beach to clear my head, calm my nerves, and regroup, as I have many times in my fifty-three years here in Martin County. The beach was full of people, people I did not know. Children ran in the waves shrieking with joy as their exhausted parents held each other silently. As I walked by each family, couple, or person, I wondered what they had been through the past week. And here, we had all come to the edge of the sea, where just days ago nature’s wrath raged taking away the expensive restored beach sands, taking away the control we fight so hard to hold on to.

I walked…

Just north of Jensen Beach, it was like old times when I myself was a kid. Shells were everywhere! A blanket of coquina underneath my feet. I picked up a large, perfect lightning whelk marveling at its beauty. “Look at that spiral…” I thought to myself. ” How peculiar, It looks just like the eye and bands of the hurricane…” a pattern in Nature, I had forgotten about.

For a few minutes, I was transported. I collected many shells, choosing the most beautiful with the best spirals. It got me thinking about words Ernie Lyons wrote years ago, about how we become like moles living underground and forget what a miraculous world it really is…even when the stresses of the world are great.

“What a Wonderful World”

I get an indescribable “lift” from the habit of appreciating life.

All of us, even the most harried, have moments when we are fleetingly aware of the glory that surrounds us. Like moles that occasionally break throughout their tunnels, we infrequently  catch a glimpse of the natural beauty and awesome majesty outside the corridor within which we have bound ourselves.

And pop back into our holes!

The habit of appreciation—–the cultivation of the sense of awareness—are forgotten roads to enrichment of personal experience. Not money in the bank, or real estate, or houses, or the exercise of power are true riches. By the true tally, the only value is “how much do you enjoy life?”

All around each of us are the wonders of creation—the shining sun, a living star bathing us with the magic mystery of light…we look to the heavens at night and wonder at the glittering  panoply of suns so distant and so strange,  while accepting as commonplace our own.

We live in a world of indescribable wonder. Words cannot tell why beauty is beautiful, our senses must perceive what makes it so.

What we call art, literature, genuine poetry, and  true religion are the products of awareness, seeing and feeling the magic which lies beyond the mole-tunnel view.

One man, in his mole-tunnel, says he is inconsequential, a slave to his job, of dust and to dust going. Another, poking his head our into the light, realizes that he is a miraculous as any engine, with eyes to see, a mind which to think, a spirit whose wings know no limitations.

The mole-man is bound to a commonplace earth and a commonplace life. He lives among God’s wonders without ever seeing them. But those who make a habit of appreciation find wonder in every moment, and every day, by the sense of participation in a miracle.

They see the glory  of the flowers, the shapes and colors of trees and grass, the grace of tigers and serpents, the stories of selfishness or selflessness that are written on the faces men and women. They feel the wind upon their faces and the immeasurable majesty of distances in sky and sea.

And in those things there is the only true value. This a wonderful  world. Take time to see it. You’re cheat yourself unless you appreciate it.—–E.L., 1957.

Ernest F. Lyons, famed St Lucie River conservationist, award-winning writer, and long time editor of the Stuart News: (

Transcribed by historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow


Logarithmic Spiral:

Fibonacci Sequence in Nature:

11 thoughts on “Irma, Nature’s Patterns, and the “Wonder of the World,” SLR/IRL

  1. Hey Jacqui,

    Great observation! Never even gave that a thought but you’re right on about the pattern. Glad to hear you weathered everything well. Same over here. Our area was extremely blessed to suffer only a nick from the storm.


    On Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 12:58 PM, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote:

    > Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch posted: ” As many people along Florida’s east > coast, last Tuesday, I was completely prepared for record-breaking, > Category 5 Hurricane Irma, to take my house away. She didn’t, but she did > others, and the stress for citizens across our state, power” >

  2. Very nice. Glad to hear you are ok. Us too. Still no power but we have water and generator which I Jerry rigged for AC last night – ahhhh

    Of course ran out of gas at 4am. But progress

    Massive landscape clean up continues. Lost huge oaks. Some Mangroves. Bamboo wind break worked wonders.

    Keep safe. Thanks again for your support for the vice, still haven’t missed a night, and you public service.



    Sent from my Blackberry – the most secure mobile device – via the Sprint Network

  3. Thanks so much for the update. Sorry for the loss of your huge oaks and everything else.That has to hurt–I love the trees. Good luck with all the clean up and I so admire all your work and dedication. Hope to see you soon.

  4. Maby someone can enliten me— How does a creature liveing inside a shell not only make its magnificent concrete castle but makes it grow bigger and bigger? In the construction world concrete is poured into a form to harden. These shells start out smaller than a pea and I have never seen one(the creature) go outside to work on building its shell.

    1. For Anonymous: From “Wonderopolus” ~As mollusks live their daily lives in the sea, they take in salts and chemicals from the water around them. As they process these materials, they secrete calcium carbonate, which hardens on the outside of their bodies and begins to form a hard outer shell.

      Although its shell is attached to it, it’s not part of the living body of a mollusk. This is because the shell is formed from minerals, not mollusk cells. As mollusks continue to excrete calcium carbonate, their shells continue to grow. When a mollusk dies, it leaves its shell behind for you to find along the sea shore.

  5. For thier shell to get bigger it has to be desolveing on the inside and hardening on the outside. I can see how the creature could be desolveing the shell on the inside but it is beyond me as to how the creatures are building their shell on the outside when they never come out. As I have said many times before I believe our historic lagoon was probably more calcium cloride salt water than sodium cloride salt water. I now think I have reason to believe that brazilian pepper trees and other invasive species have NOT evolved to live near a lagoon that has calcium cloride salt in it. What probably killed all the creatures in the shells in the picture was ammonia. If the lagoon was functioning like it used to the ammonia would all be going into makeing calcium cloride salt.

  6. I have been trying to remember back when I fished a nearby lake called the stick marsh.This lake had a shell bank that always had fish nearby.This side of the lake never was chocked with many of the invasive water plants. Now I am starting to wonder if calcium cloride salt could be used as a environmentally friendly natural herbacide to get ride of invasive plants.

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