Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Frost

Utility Pole


I wore my big parka today…first time this year. It wasn’t really cold enough, but over the last few days the wind has been hurling snow at about twenty-five to thirty-five miles per hour and there’s nothing better than fur to keep a sharp wind from cutting through the bones.

Drifts have been building up across the roads and beside houses. I’ve had to dig out the doghouse five times. I guess that’s pretty much what you would expect this time of year. Without the sun to keep it company, the wind seems to spend a lot of time racing itself across the tundra, swirling snow from the sky with snow on the ground in a frantic, turbulent sort of dance.

But, about a week ago, there was no wind. In its absence, an unusual stretch of calm settled in like a down comforter quietly unfolding across the land. Moist air lingered for a few days and wrapped itself around every solid surface until the whole village was transformed into a wonderland of frost.

Frost has always fascinated me. Growing up in southern states, I think it served as a substitute for the snow that I always hoped to, yet didn’t, experience very often. But, I don’t remember seeing frost like we had here last week. After a few days without wind, layers of feathery crystals began to build up like a sculpture being created in reverse. Ordinary objects, wrapped in a fuzzy disguise, appeared more interesting and fun. Mundane structures…like fences or handrails…seemed delicate, even beautiful. Hard lines all around the village softened. Battle scars from clashes with the elements were temporarily concealed by the elegant, shimmering mantle of ice.

Of course, the wind never stays gone for long and when it finally did return the frost was quickly sheared away. But, while it lasted, it was exquisite…and kind of fun. Tinged by the pale yellow glow of streetlights, the sight of our frost-covered village almost made me feel warm and fuzzy during my early morning treks to school. Considering the climate, that’s not an easy thing to do.

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Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture the glittery, shimmering effect of the frost in my photos. Either the camera I'm using can't do it...or I just don't know how. But, I do think you can see how thick the frost was. This looks a lot like latticework, but is actually a chain link fence.

Fence2

Playground equipment...no one playing on it these days.

Playground4

playground3

This silly picture is the sock that I use to cover my doorknob. If I don't keep the knob covered, it will collect moisture, frost, or snow inside the keyhole and will freeze up. A frozen doorknob is very bad news...especially with a half-mile walk back to town. I also have to keep it covered during windy weather in the summertime because the dust blowing off the road causes a similar problem (even worse). A sock is a simple, yet fairly effective, solution!

Doorknob

10 comments:

Steve said...

Wow, that's really a lot of frost! And look at that weather duck!! Great pictures, Kimberlee, and I like the description of the wind's activity, too.

Jackie said...

Ditto what Steve said - that IS a lot of frost! And no - I hadn't seen the duck since the snow drift built up. What chu gonna do when he gets covered up? I guess we shall see, huh? We're still warm here...in the 30's. I thought it would help make the snow packable (is that a real word?)so we could make snow men, but I guess there's just not enough humidity or something.

I sure enjoy your site, Kimberlee...the writing and the photos.

Kimberlee said...

Steve and Jackie...Thanks for your comments! I wish the photos would have shown how beautiful the frost was, but I think the total darkness against total white of the snow/frost was a difficult combination (at least for me) to try to capture effectively.

The wind is still howling, so I'm not sure how much longer the duck will be around. I do see signs of non-weather activity around him sometimes...footprints, Ski-doo tracks, etc. Maybe he'll get some help from an outside source. And, eventually, the drift he's surrounded by will compress a little. We'll see...

Thanks to both of you for visiting! I hope Thanksgiving was nice in your respective corners of the world!

Karen said...

I love these photos, Kimberlee. And the sock thing is hilarious.

I have an idea. Is that the moon in your power pole photo? Try shooting at an angle where you don't have the moon on, and then shine a flashlight on the frost on that power pole and don't use the flash on your camera. See if the concentrated light on the frost makes it light up like you are thinking about.

Either way, I really like that power pole photo. I know exactly what you were going for. I remember what those look like from our years in Minnesota.

Kimberlee said...

Hi, Karen. Thanks for dropping by! There was no moon involved with the frost photos. It was completely overcast for several days (as it is most of the time). I think the light spots in that photo are actually glittery bits of frozen moisture that float around in the air this time of year. I'll have to try your flashlight idea next time to see if it makes a difference. That's an interesting thought. Might work on illuminating snowflakes too.

I'm sure I am WAY more impressed with frost than veteran Northerners would be, but I'm really glad you liked the photos. :)

Rose Mary said...

Kimberlee, I love your frost photos. I've shared them with some in the office and they are amazed. I also shared them with an artist I just met and she loves your blog too. I'd love for her to paint one of your photos of "fall". Thanks for sharing your world with all of us.

Kimberlee said...

Thank you, Rose Mary. I'm really glad you've enjoyed the photos. I was kind of disappointed that the "glitter" of the frost didn't show up very well, but I plan to try Karen's idea of lighting with a flashlight instead of using the flash. We'll see how that works. For now...the wind we had last week pretty much stripped all the frost away. But I'm sure there will be more.

Wouldn't we have gone nuts for frost like this when we were kids?
:)

Rose Mary said...

Yes we would have gone wild over that amount of frost, or even half the snow on that ramp at the back of your school. Anything would have mad us run around wild with excitement!

Kimberlee said...

Absolutely! :)

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