Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Artist at Work

 It's the coldest night of the year - in fact, it was the coldest night in the past four years - and Jack Frost sat down at his glassy canvas and worked while the brutal night wore on. With brief, but heavy, snow showers yesterday as an Arctic cold front plowed through our area, there was ample moisture for Jack to do his work.

 When I went to bed last evening at 9:30 pm, I noticed that the bathroom window had begun to be etched. There were points of ice, merely an outline of the work already underway. I looked through the window at Jupiter and the Moon in the south, in conjunction, and their light sparkled on the icy pane of glass, showing off the work in progress. I went to bed knowing that the morning would present to me most wonderful sights.

 Side-by-side, nature draws straight lines and curlicues. Within an inch of one another, why this here, why this there? The pattern must be set at the atomic level, one spot contains a mote of dust, another an arrangement of water vapor adhering to the glass as the night air cools. Who but nature can draw such intricate patterns, arranged in some random shapes, form without meaning?

 On my bedroom window, a particularly fanciful creation appeared. The night dipped to +5° and with yesterday's snow showers adding just enough moisture, the canvas was set, the pallet prepared.

 On Mom's bedroom window, a north-facing one, I always find the most interesting patterns of all. It is this window that Jack Frost prefers, always out of direct sunlight, always the first recipient of winter's storms. And here, as I looked from the bathroom, was a perfect X. Two etched lines converged and crossed there as we slept, nature forming a bulls-eye. Did one line form and then the other? Or did both form at once? They seem equal in width thus probably formed at the same time. Why were the atomic structures not discouraged by their crossing? In this game of Dare, neither blinked but hit head-on.

 Finally, just after 8 am, an east window catches the light of the rising sun. Rather than pretty patterns here, there has formed a smooth, almost monotonous sheet of ice. In minutes, after the sun hits, the ice disintegrates to drops of water, the media shown to be no more than mere water vapor.
 During the night, I first woke at 1 am but did not get up. Mom said she'd check the pipes by running some water into the bathtub near midnight. I waited. When I woke again at 2:30 am, I knew it was my turn. I grabbed my robe and headed down the  steps. I walked into the living room where Mom slept and told her I would check the house. She snored.
 I ran water in the bath tub and the kitchen sink. All was well. I climbed back upstairs and ran water in my bathroom. Again, all was fine. Even in the night, I heard the wind chime singing in the wind. The furnace ran non-stop.
 I crawled back into bed, pulled the quilt over my head, slept soundly until after 7 am. All through the night, the artist worked. This morning I marveled at his industry.

1 comment:

  1. The frost sketches appear to dance across the glass! These delicate compositions - artfully arranged as well-placed scatterings of tiny, icy pine trees and lacy ferns from a snowy forest. We marvel at the miracle creation of each pane with a unique design, like snowflakes... no two exactly alike! Your eye and camera, coupled with the beauty and wonder of these patterns in nature - just true artistry! Thank you for sharing this wintertime wondrous treat! :)