Nature Study: Snowflakes!

We had hoped for enough snow to build snowmen, have snowball fights, and to go sledding (which neither of my girls have ever done!), but we ended up with only a thorough dusting. However, there was enough snow to run around catching snowflakes on our tongue and for me to play right alongside the kids. I don’t do that often enough.

We also made a point of noticing how intricate and amazing individual snowflakes are. I had seen some amazing snowflake photos and really wanted to capture some of my own. I didn’t really prepare enough to have a frozen pane of glass or anything like that to catch them on, but the girls help me find them, like these on the playset:

And this one on Kathryn’s coat:

I can’t believe I’ve my whole life and never noticed individual snowflakes before. As we were in search of snowflakes, I keep thinking of a verse we’d read earlier in the week, about God’s “storehouses of snow” (Job 39:22).

We learned that snowflakes are formed when water vapor is frozen while still in the clouds. These  hexagon-shaped ice crystals grow into more complex shapes based on various environmental factors such as temperature and humidity levels. Colder temperatures produce snowflakes with sharper tips, which may explain why we saw them so easily this time.

We read a bit about Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, who photographed over 5000 snow crystals (flakes) in his lifetime. He adapted a microscope and bellows camera to capture these amazing images. In all his work, he never found two snowflakes alike. I love this quote by Bentley, and I’m so thankful he shared this gift with the world:

“Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.”

Even though I’ve been a slacker on nature studies, this reminds me of the main reason I love it: because I think all of creation is a “masterpiece of design.” I hope to teach my girls to always take time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation!