Snow: the marvel of frozen water

Credit: Electron and Confocal Microscopy Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture

From my unplowed street in New York City last week, two feet of beautiful fluffy white stuff morphed into frustration if you actually needed to leave the house. But secretly snow still reduces me to an 8-year-old child every time I see a few flakes. I grew up in Florida where I rarely saw a few pellets and never made a snowman or snowangels until sometime in college. Nor did I have to shovel  the disappointing aftermath, gray ice-slush hunks of industrialism on asphalt.

Snowflakes form six-sided moments of magic that come and then waft away, forcing us to slow down, whether we want to or not.

I’m not the only one who got swept away with the snow this week.

For the final truth about snowflakes is that they become more individual as they fall—that, buffeted by wind and time, they are translated, as if by magic, into ever more strange and complex patterns, until, at last, like us, they touch earth. Then, like us, they melt.

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