Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Appreciating Snow

With a title like that I’m guessing there will be an accumulation of hate mail from the Mid-Atlantic states as another wave of snow heads their way on the coat tails of last week’s horrific blizzard. Fox news website had a mild distraction this morning, Wilson Bentley’s Pioneering Snowflake Photography , a slide show of various images taken prior to Bentley’s death in 1931.

I did a little more looking and found a site dedicated to Bentley’s work along with a quote which set the tone for his efforts.

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."

I’ve watched shows on television explaining the scientific reasons for the formation of snow and the temperatures which are associated with the various shapes. I’m sure there are plenty of other sites; but for a fairly simple explanation the one from the Lansing State Journal, dated October 8, 1997, covered my limited need to know.

“The shape that a snow crystal will take is dependent upon the temperature at which it was formed. The temperature in the highest clouds is around -30°F and they are made up exclusively of ice crystal columns. The other three shapes are formed in a narrow temperature range. When the temperature in the clouds is 3° to 10°F the star shaped crystals form. From 10°-18°F the plates form, and from 18°-23°F columns form. From 23°-27°F needles form and from 27°-32°F the plates reappear. As the snow crystals grow they become heavier and fall towards Earth. If they spin like tops as they fall then they may be perfectly symmetrical when they hit the Earth. But if they fall in a sideways fashion then they end up lopsided. Falling snow crystals clump together forming snowflakes. Each snowflake is made up of from 2 to about 200 separate crystals.”

I did save a couple of Bentley’s snowflake pictures, artwork of intricate design which fell in front of the camera lens, a moment in time saved for folks to appreciate or to ignore; your call. Please enjoy the beauty and consider, if you will, its importance in the overall scheme of things.

The idea occurred to me, at some point the question of Intelligent Design could surface as a tangent to my topic, appreciating snow. Some might bring up the idea that God, or Deity by any other name, is responsible for every aspect of Creation. Should that thought be considered, even if for the briefest of moments while you enjoy the beauty of a single snow flake then my purpose for posting today’s article has served its purpose.


Starsplash said...

It most certainly served that purpose for me.

T. F. Stern said...

Ron, There's a hymn we sing now and then, Have I Done Any Good...; glad to see by your comment that I did some good today.

MK said...

Had no idea they were unique, beautiful, thanks for posting it TF.

David said...


Sadly, the snow I was hoping for this week (to keep my Wonder Woman out of school--selfish I know) didn't materialize here in America's Third World County. Oh. Well.