It’s really arctic cold outside. I hardly doubt that there is anyone who’s right now thinking about the problem of global warming and that this year was one of the hottest ones ever! Despite the cold weather, there is one thing that makes a winter so adorable time of year – amazingly beautiful snowflakes!
Every winter, snowflakes are the symbol of the children’s joy of snowfall. The most of Christmas decorations are inspired by snowflake form, and some of (maybe little bit pathetic) thoughts: “Friends are like snowflakes – so beautiful and so different. ”
Are the flakes really so different from each other? Each library screening (now we all prefer “Google”) in order to find the truth about the snowflakes, leads to one name – Wilson (Snowflake) Bentley, the man who has devoted his life to these small winter stars.
He was almost a recluse of Vermont, an unusually fond of snow and a hero of the best movie Frank Capra ever made. In 1885. when he was 19 years old he photographed his first snowflake on a dark background.
His passion was more artistic than scientific (just like many others managed to create artistic and scientific works from their passion for birds, rocks, caves,). On one side, those were documents of the hidden universe of shapes and feelings, and on the other it was obsession with the small world that was so blissfully different from anything in this Dark Land.
Bentley has photographed portraits of 5381 flocks, gave them adequate scientific names, and placed them in an imaginative collage in the shape of flowers. The idea was in line with the essence and uniqueness of each individual snowflake.
Thanks to him, we’re seeing all the decorations on the Christmas tree featuring a ”winter star”. But about some irregular shapes of flakes he did not want to speak, because he thought about them as unrecoverable mistakes of nature.
And again, are they really so different?
Another catalog of snowflakes from 1988. gives the answers to this question. One scholar who studied the clouds flew over the territory of Wisconsin (USA) and found two simple, but identical ice crystals. Her name was Nancy Knight and she worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
It appears that the flakes occur as more or less identical.
If this fact destroys the dreams of beauty, which carries the diversity (as if someone said that all people are born with the same fingerprint), there is a little more optimistic side of the story.
When a snowflake falls, it passes through various layers of the atmosphere, and hits different levels of temperature, humidity, velocity, turbulence and because of that they are born identical, but their life make them all look different when they get to the ground!
Bentley, like most of his contemporaries, believed in an unchanging image, and we all believe in the truth which is gradually revealed -and that is, not what flakes actually are, but what has forced them to become what they are.