Monday, January 3, 2011

Frosty Filigree

 I missed it yesterday - I'll admit it - but I won't allow it to happen twice.
 When I walked out for the Sunday newspaper, I found the most delicate white filigree lace drawn atop our black enamel mailbox. I stood there in utter amazement at the complexity of the frost, the delicate curves that etched the entire top. I grabbed the paper and ran inside the house for my camera. But when I returned - mere minutes later - I found the sun shining still coldly on the mailbox and the icy crystals evaporated into a delicate fog.
 I decided to try again. So this morning after a very cold night (the low was 13), I hurried with my morning shower so I could be at the mailbox with camera in hand as the sun peeked above the cut corn.
 And here is what I saw:

 The black background seems to enhance the pattern above. The orange glow of the sun, in the bottom right, is enough to evaporate this etching in mere minutes. And yet the air temperature was still in the upper teens.

 This shot (above) of the rear part of the mailbox exhibited particularly beautiful structures. Why does the frost often curl? It is probably the same influence felt by a developing feather. To think that mere moisture - no more than atoms of hydrogen and oxygen - can deposit themselves in such beautiful structures! Think of nature at work even on a cold night ... toiling, drawing.

 And finally the front of the box facing S. Clayton Road. Ah, the joy this time of year in having selected a black mailbox! Who'd have thought it would serve as such a winter canvas?
 As the sun rose ever higher, the ice began to melt. Look along the far right lip of the mailbox where the transformation has already occurred. It is ice one moment, the sun shines and a wisp of steam lifts and it is now no more than water.
 To be present at such events is the sort of miracle I seek. Plan ahead, be there, be ever awake.