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Frost - The Jewels of Winter

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"And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.   And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31)

Frost - The Jewels of Winter

(Frost - 1)  We usually encounter frost as a solid white coating on car windows, grass, and rooftops; but sometimes frost appears in spectacular forms.  Before the advent of insulated glass, Jack Frost's artistry appeared on the windows of homes.  On one of our daily walks, Mary and I encountered this magnificent display.  The spaces between these ice crystals make it unusual.  This appears to be a combination of frost and rime ice, formed only on the top surface of a wooden bridge rail.
(Frost - 1a)  No two ice crystals are exactly the same.  Some look like needles, while others look like miniature Christmas trees.  We marvel at the various wonders of God's creation.  These jewels of winter are but a few examples.  When we human beings make something, we expect the duplicates to be identical.  But with God, even common things like these ice crystals are unique.   In the same way we humans, our companion animals, and all other animals each have our own individual personality.
(Frost - 1b)  On continued contact with a hard cold surface, some of the moisture in the air freezes to form thicker ice crystals like these.  We enjoy observing these simple things in life without causing any harm to our fellow humans, to the animals, or to the environment.  In sharp contrast, we heard the sound of distant gun fire coming from those who seek to destroy for their personal gratification.
(Frost - 1c)  The morning sun glistens on these jewels of winter, giving them the brilliance of diamonds.  In the center we have an ice formation spreading itself out like the branches of a tree.  To the right, the ice looks like decorative Japanese fans standing in a row.  To the left is one that stands erect like a crystal tree on a thin trunk.  Think of how spectacular our Christmas trees would look if we could decorate them with larger versions of crystals like these.
(Frost - 2)  Every place along the bridge rail where we looked at these ice crystals, we saw something different - something to marvel at - something to be thankful for being privileged to be able to see it.  These jewels of winter were here for our enjoyment until the warmth of the sun evaporated them, but they will return the next cold night with an ever renewing variety of form.
(Frost  - 2a)  The ice crystals in this photo range in appearance from jagged pieces of glass, to a perfectly formed crystal candelabra, to shimmering concentric hexagons.  Unless we take the time to look, we will miss these visual blessings.
(Frost - 2b)  These jewels of winter look like they're on display in a showcase, or like they have been individually planted by the winter time gardener, Jack Frost.  It is interesting how some of these ice crystals grow flat on the surface and how others grow upright.  Using the larger crystal in the lower right of the photo as an example, we can see how successive layers of ice formed, or grew upon each other, making it look like it's partially out of focus.
(Frost - 2c)  The ice crystals in this photo give us an excellent example of the way one layer of ice forms upon the previous layer to create the various formations.  According to Job 37:10 (KJV), these gems are a gift:  "By the breath of God, frost is given..."  If the people of this world, particularly our leaders, would truly appreciate the little things in life, perhaps we wouldn't be experiencing the destruction and death that never seems to end.
(Frost - 3)  It is interesting how most of these ice crystals have developed independently of each other, so that we can appreciate their individual forms.  We often limit our thinking to finite terms, such as: water freezes into ice, and the moisture in the air freezes as frost, rime, or glaze ice.  As a result, we fail to see beyond the obvious.  But when we open our minds to accept greater possibilities, we begin to see "infinite" options.  Our neighbors (human and non-human) also present opportunities for us to get to know them individually.
(Frost - 3a)  With its long needle extending from a series of vertical plates, this ice display is particularly interesting.  The vertical plates also show the ice layers as they formed.  This multi-layering can also be seen in the partial crystal extending in from the right edge of the photo.
(Frost - 3b)  Here is another example of how the ice forms in multi-layers on the individual sections of these frozen jewels of winter.  We may not all have the digital camera equipment to capture this beauty; but most of us could carry a good magnifying glass on our walks, so that when the opportunities present themselves, we can get a closer look at the beauty and wonder of creation.
(Frost - 3c)  The star shaped ice crystal formation in the upper right of this photo glistens in the morning sunlight.  The layering of the plates in this formation was the same as is in some of the other formations, but the star shape was uncommon.  We look forward to our next wondrous encounter with the glory displayed in God's creation.  May we all work toward making this a kinder and more gentle world, where we will no longer harm each other, the animals, or the environment.  In Isaiah 11:9 we are told that this can happen when we learn to let the knowledge of the Lord fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.
(Frost - 04)  We didn't have any snow for Christmas in 2006, nor for that matter had we had any snow before Christmas, which was the first time this had happened in the 27 years we'd lived here.  What we did have this Christmas was a light coating of frost.  One of the interesting things we noticed was that the frost on the top rail of our deck had formed in rows of needles that followed the grain of the wood.
(Frost - 04a)  This is a closer look at the rows of frost needles.  We're not completely sure why the frost formed in this particular way, but we surmise that there was a difference in the surface temperature between the dark and light wood grains and that the frost began to form along the colder grain lines.  Since the air and frost were colder than the wood, the frost crystals grew along the same lines.

(Frost - 05)  This is another look at the frost on the top of our porch rail taken from a slightly lower angle.

(Frost - 05a)  By making the photo lighter so that we could see the wood grain on the inside of the rail, we could see the little nodes of frost formed along the dark wood grains.

(Frost - 06)  In this photo, we're looking nearly straight down at the rows of frost crystals.

(Frost - 06a)  This is another close up look at the frost crystals.  In this photo we can also see that small frost crystals had begun to form along the smaller grain lines between the major rows of frost.

(Frost - 06b)  This is another close up look at the rows of frost crystals.

(Frost - 07)  We took this photo of the frost crystals looking along the top of the porch wood railing.
(Frost - 07a)  This is a close up look at some of the clear ice crystals that make up the "white" frost.  In the center of this photo, we can also see an open section of wood that has no frost deposits.
(Frost - 07b)  This is the final photo that we took of Christmas frost of 2006.  It was a Christmas gift from God that was free of cost, and brought a lot of pleasure.
(Frost - 08) We took this and the following photos on the morning of 6 Dec 2008 of the fine frost that had formed on the 1-1/2 inch wide top rail of our porch deck.  Using the macro setting on our camera, we tried to focus on some of the ice crystals.
(Frost - 08a) This is a closer look at some of the fine ice crystals that form the frost.
(Frost - 08b) This is another close up look at the fine ice crystals that form along the grain of the wood.
(Frost - 09) This is another look at the frost on the top rail of our deck.
(Frost - 09a) This is a closer look at some of the frost.  We have noticed that when the air and surface temperatures are just a little below freezing, the frost crystals are more rounded, particularly when the sun begins to shine on them.
(Frost - 09b) This is another close up look at some of the frost crystals.
(Frost - 10) These are some of the frost crystals that formed on our picnic table.
(Frost - 10a) This is a close up of some of the elaborate frost formations.  We also find it interesting that there is open space between the crystal formations on the surface of the wood.
(Frost - 10b) This is another close up look at some other frost formations on the surface of the table.
(Frost - 11) This is another look at some of the frost crystals that formed on the surface of our picnic table.
(Frost - 11a) This is another close up look at some of the frost crystals gleaming in the early morning sunshine.
(Frost - 12) This is another view of some of the frost crystals.
(Frost - 12a) This is another close up look at some of the frost crystals with their long shadows.
(Frost - 12b) This is another close up look at some more frost crystals.

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Presented here are just a few of the countless components of God's creation.  Just as we cannot have human and animal life without water and plants, neither can we have lasting peace without love and compassion.  It is our hope and prayer that this series will motivate people to live and act in a cruelty-free manner; that we would no longer hurt or destroy each other, the animals or our environment.

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