The Comfort of Patterns
As a child, I used to find patterns in everything: marks on the worn linoleum floor in our old house, the shadow of a moving curtain on a window screen, the ever-changing reflections along the dark, shady creek I walked barefoot in. I found it calming to draw gradually evolving repeated line formations.
My severely autistic son makes sense of the world through patterns, as we all do in some way. Though using language is challenging for him, he wants names for the repetitive forms he sees. He holds up a large pillow quilted together from a hodgepodge of fabric patches.
“What’s this?” he asks several times each week about the same patch of fabric.
“Zigzag. That’s a zigzag pattern,” I reply.
“Zigzag pattern!” he says, satisfied until he needs to ask again.
Walking in nature offers countless fascinating repetitive forms to see and hear. Rivers and creeks bend and turn in curves, fields overlap like patchwork in the distance, and leaves and branches create undulating waves of light and sound as we walk along a trail.
I don’t know why cyclically repeated images and sounds bring comfort to some people, but they do for me, and I believe they do for my son as well.
May you stumble onto patterns in your daily life that delight your eyes, stir memories, or perhaps bring calm.
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is Pulgas Ridge, an area offering a wide variety of trails mixing open space and shady areas.
For those interested in disabilities awareness, I had an enlightening conversation with the wonderful hosts of the “Journeys” podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F_fOLm-M0A
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 71): Pulgas Ridge
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Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.