Information, Sunflowers, and Pinecones





“Information. What’s wrong with dope and women? Is it any wonder the world’s gone insane, with information come to be the only real medium of exchange?”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Sunflower and fly

Wednesday evening, dark, cold, we were all sitting on the big wooden table for this week’s discussion of this week’s seventy page section of Gravity’s Rainbow. Somebody remarked on the relationship between nature and mathematics… “Mathematics is our way of describing nature,” and then brought up the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ration and the spirals in “Sunflowers and Pinecones.”

My ears perked up. Early that day I had stumbled across a YouTube video on the subject. Of course, everybody talks about those darned spirals and how they show up everywhere. This video was different, though. It talks about the Golden Ratio and then goes on to say why it shoes up on Sunflowers and Pinecones. It shows why it’s the only way to organize a Sunflower or a Pinecone.

Watch it or not.




They Weren’t All Sunflowers

Over a month ago, I drove south of Dallas to meet a friend and take some pictures of Sunflowers (some more here). The field of yellow faces was spectacular and beautiful – can’t wait for next year to go back.

But while I was setting up a shot I looked down and saw a mess of smaller, but more colorful and every bit as beautiful, blooms.

I’m glad I noticed them.

Wildflowers south of Dallas.

Wildflowers south of Dallas.


(click for full size image on flickr)

(click for full size image on flickr)

I have been working too much – working through the weekends. But the other day I happened to be off. A friend of mine from Austin had posted some amazing photographs of fields of sunflowers taken somewhere between here and there. She posted on Facebook that she was driving up to get some more shots and I was able to drop what I was doing and go there.

These were taken along Interstate 35 south of Dallas, near the little town of Forreston, exit mile 391. The fields bloom in June – and I ‘m not sure how long they will be there. They were starting to wither in the heat – so I suppose they will be harvested soon.

My friend had the foresight to bring a stepladder, which was necessary for the wide shots. The sunflowers are taller than you expect, over six feet high.

They are an amazing sight – photographs don’t do justice. There was a constant clot of cars that stopped along the Interstate to gawk at the flowers and stop and grab photos. I’ve got some more, I’ll post them in a few days.

(click for larger version on flickr)

(click for larger version on flickr)