Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

My Personal Fractal Theory of LIfe

I just read an article about Benoit Mandelbrot who penned his mathematical theory, “fractal geometry”. He believes that underneath what we see, sense and experience as chaos, lies a “pattern of irregularities” that repeats itself.

Fractal: from the verb frangere (to break) and the word fractus (fragmented). “A type of mathematical shape that is infinitely complex, a pattern that repeats forever”. (

This triggered an idea for my next tree essay as many things in nature, including trees, belong in this out of the box mathematical theory.

Since I closed my voice studio in December 2022, my days have not found a system, an order, a regular routine, but have consisted of a free-for-all approach; so very different from my “life before”. I purposely leave the squares on my desk calendar blank except for absolute obligations like doctor’s appointments and when to subtract auto pays from my checking account. And also fun things like coffee or lunch with friends. But I refused to box myself into a regimented lifestyle, and until recently I had no real desire to change this free wheeling existence. However, once again on a walk, a sense of “its time” clearly descended upon me and I realized I was ready to consider a new narrative for my daily life, that my spontaneous modus operandi to my days was veering towards something more solid. What surprised me, lurking beneath what I thought was an unfettered life, was actually a bit of fractal geometry! On the surface, there appeared a lazy chaos, but while luxuriating in this uncoerced lifestyle, I missed the undercurrent of underlying components sorting themselves, jostling for a place to settle to coming together to form a pattern. The seemingly disorganized, wandering ripples across the surface detracted from the ongoing quiet choreography underneath that was composing a another possibility for my life from all the random bits orbiting about on their own. Upending old routines, establishing different timelines, building a day from old blocks, adding new ones. Swapping things out with others, turning my day around. Things I really want to do everyday, jumped out and were given top priority. The 24 hour clock presenting an array of choices, allowing pieces of the old to emerge singularily in order for me to place them, like puzzle pieces, into a new landscape.

My random sporadic strategy fits so well into this fractal idea. Recurring patterns that may seem on the surface, an abstract or non-linear way of life, actually evolve from a foundation of constancies. Instead of a set agenda, I now have free flowing choices that do not necessarily follow any daily order, but repeat themselves on an irregular basis. Everyday is different, but contains many of the same elements. My timetable has been tossed about while simultaneously I have set up some orderly bookends, boundaries of the day. I like getting up earlier so I go to bed earlier and I end my day with yoga instead of reading which I now do in the afternoon. I love walking in the mornings. I eat when I am hungry. I shop when I need something no matter the day or time. My day runs on momentary decisions, but I choose from a recurring list of ingredients.

For now, I will give this new system a chance and see if this gets me closer to my own mathematical theory.

A Community of Trees

Summer is here and thinking about my next essay in my tree series, the phrase, “forest for the trees” comes to mind. I took a pause to contemplate what that really means. That we don’t see the big picture? That we are too focused on detail? I gently nuanced my way into the idea

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Seasonal Life

It is the beginning of spring now. The older I get, the more I am aware on multifarious levels of these seasonal changes. Born and raised in Michigan, these annual metamorphoses were very much intertwined with my daily life. It wasn’t until I moved to California for 3 years that I sensed how infected

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Pages of Trees

I love books. Libraries are some of my favorite places. I love their restfulness. I love walking around in them, scanning titles and covers, pulling a book off a shelf to read the inside of the front cover, look at the author’s photo on the back. Whenever I moved to a new city, one

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2023 The Year of the Tree

2023 The Year of the Tree

After my challenging and invigorating project for 2022, “creating my canvas”, I rummaged through my collection of essays and philosophical meanderings to arrive at an often visited theme – Trees. From discovering their below ground, inter-connectedness and moving through their seasonal changes and upheavals,

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The Blessings of Darkness

I received a lovely Christmas gift this year, an Advent Calendar with daily messages from Joy Zimmerman. While they all have been delightful, the poem she read on December 21st, the winter solstice, blossomed into something unexpected.

Having completed my “blank canvas” challenge for 2022, I have been wandering

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