It’s the time of year when watching pure white flakes drifting out of the sky is one of life’s simple pleasures. They brighten up an otherwise gray day and make a beautiful natural flocking on trees.
Wilson A. Bently liked snowflakes too. He said,
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.
Known as “The Snowflake Man“, Mr. Bently adapted a microscope to a bellows camera. It was 1885 and with a lot of hard work he was the first person to photograph a snowflake. We’ve all heard that “no two snowflakes are alike” and we can attribute that to William “Snowflake” Bently. He photographed over 5000 snowflakes in his lifetime.
Wow! What a task. I’m curious as to how he managed to keep them from melting! A museum dedicated to Bently and his snowflakes is located in Jericho, Vermont. If I ever visit Jericho, I’ll try to remember to check out the museum.
While on the topic of snowflakes, did you know that the largest snowflake ever recorded fell in Keogh, Montana? It is said that Matt Coleman found it on his ranch on January 28, 1887. The snowflake was HUGE -15 inches wide and 8 inches thick. Coleman described it as “larger than milk pans“.
Thinking about the size of it, it’s hard to imagine it was a snowflake. It’s a shame “The Snowflake Man” wasn’t there to capture it, considering this was only 2 years after he started his research.
I didn’t see a lot of snow when I was a kid, so perhaps that’s why I like it so much. I know it can be bothersome at times and I’ve written about that. But there’s nothing like seeing the “moon on the breast of the new fallen snow” and how it gives a lustre of midday to objects below.
If you are lucky enough to have snow, I hope you enjoy it.
Before I go, I’d like to share my aunt’s recipe for snow cream. The first time I tasted its sweet goodness, I was 14 years old and visiting family in North Carolina for the Christmas holidays. What fun it was to go sledding, caroling, and cutting down a “real” Christmas tree in the woods; all things I didn’t do, but dreamed of, as a little kid.
Here’s the easy recipe for snow cream. All you need is:
- A big bowl of fresh snow
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk