Festival of frost

Frost on the creek

The cold weather has kept me more housebound than usual for several days. This morning after a phone interview I determined to bundle up and brave the weather. A walk in the woods is the best way to unwind. The creek welcomed me with some of the most fantastic hoarfrost I’ve ever seen.

Hoar frost forms on cold, clear nights when heat escapes into the air faster than it can be replaced. It often appears on plants or the ground. In this case it formed on slush in the creek, where there’s still some warmer water trickling from a storm drain.

Frosted creek

Its structure is reminiscent of fern frost, the kind that forms on old windows like the one in my office. I’ve been photographing it during the past few days of Arctic air.

Fern frost 10

The window provides my primary connection with nature at these times. I’m a wuss about damp, windy winter cold.

The first thing I see when glancing up from my desk a dozen times a day is a mature black cherry towering over the young maples, walnuts and oaks at this end of the woods. Neither photos nor words do justice to the friendship of one tree, especially in the falling light of a thousand afternoons. But yesterday the fern frost on the office window gave it a smattering of magic.

However, my connection with the woods doesn’t allow me to stay cocooned indoors for long. I’ve built some good habits over the past year, especially walking daily. I begin to miss everything pretty quickly: the trees, the creek, the birds, even the snow and ice.

Puzzle 2

Bundled warmly I hardly feel the cold. As always I’m uplifted as beauty warms icy thoughts and senses.


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