My Seventh BCI Session – Reflecting on Biomimetic Design
12/12/2021 – My Backyard in Portland, OR
Today is cold and generally overcast although the harsh winds that have continued to persist for the last couple days have moved the clouds in and out quite frequently. There was rain this morning, which has brought a richness of color to the damp yard and remaining foliage.
Focus & Intent
For this seventh BCI session, I contemplated ecosystem interactions at various scales. I imagined how the way I observe nature has changed now that I have completed this Biomimetic Design course.
For the final time this term I returned to my backyard to complete my BCI assignment. Early on I anticipated trying to visit as many different parks and spots in nature as I possibly could for my BCI experiences, but in retrospect there was something really special about reconnecting with my own space in a different way that I may not have otherwise.
I stepped out back midday to once again take a seat and close my eyes. Today was cold and windy, very much in contrast to early BCI exercises. I could hear the forceful gusts in the distance often before I felt them rush through my yard. There were also the widest variety of sounds created by the wind than I had ever noticed before. Deep rumbling rustles from trees full of dead leaves, clanking empty branches, rushes and whistles. I found myself hunkering down in preparation for each chilling gust, tensing most muscles in my body as my shoulders rose towards my ears in anticipation. My toes felt cold through my socks and wisps of hair whipped my face. I could hear both the neighbors behind our house and the one to the left rummaging around in their backyards, which caught my attention because we so rarely see either of them. I heard one lone bird chip, calling into the wind with no reply. One car sped down a nearby street far too fast for a neighborhood. One helicopter flew across overhead, making me recall the biomimetic helicopters in Dune. I notice I’m taking small sips of air, and remind myself to sit up and breathe deeply. The air is fresh and cleansing. For a brief moment I know the sun has poked its head from behind the clouds as the backs of my eyelids light up a warm hue.
Opening my eyes, I can see evidence of our ongoing wind storms as small branches lay scattered across our lush emerald grass, still wet from the last sprinkle the hour before. The plants have changed so much since late summer. Many are bare, some have bright festive berries, and everything feels like it’s grown a tad bigger. I find myself taking photos from new angles, trying to capture new perspectives that I haven’t posted before. A bush that has been covered in leaves up until this BCI, now presents as a handful of sticks erupting from the bark chips. I notice the thin branches are furry and I begin to wonder why. What purpose could that serve? My thoughts wander through Ask Nature articles that I’ve read over the last 15 weeks, trying to recall anything I might’ve learned about this. Perhaps the hairs protect from harmful pests, or they repel excess water.
I am lucky to have grown up with parents who always encouraged me to explore and appreciate nature, so in some senses observing my natural surroundings is a regular practice in my life, however, now that I have completed this Biomimetic Design course, I have more language and frameworks to process what I’m observing and bridge that experience with design. I can now think about functions and what strategies nature uses to achieve them. I have read so many articles, I can now try to connect the dots between new observations and past discoveries, continuing to notice patterns that support Life’s Principles.