Ice Armor

January 10, 2013

Frost-rimed grasses in the garden

Frost-rimed grasses in the garden

“Every leaf and twig was this morning covered with a sparkling ice armor; even the grasses in exposed fields were hung with innumerable diamond pendants, which jingled merrily when brushed by the foot of the traveller.  It was literally the wreck of jewels and the crash of gems.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Journals, January 21, 1838

I remember ice storms from my childhood in Minnesota — every tree, branch and twig was coated in a clear shield of ice.  Too bright for unprotected eyes.  Precarious footing.  And yes, merry tinkling when the shards of ice fell down.

These frosty January mornings in Seattle are a less piercing pleasure — no crashing crystals, just a silent icy edging.  Here are some photos of this magical world:

These grasses looked like ribbon with their white edging giving a pleasant contrast

These grasses looked like ribbon with their white edging giving a pleasant contrast

Petal pattern, with frost

Petal pattern, with frost

Edged ferns

Edged ferns

Christmas colors!  Red and green.

Christmas colors! Red and green.

In the winter garden

In the winter garden

Layered maple leaves

Layered maple leaves

Nature's calligraphy

Nature’s calligraphy

The frost gives a new meaning to the idea of a white garden.

The frost gives a new meaning to the idea of a white garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tendrils of frost on a car windshield

Tendrils of frost on a car windshield

Frost
by Valerie Worth, from All the Small Poems and Fourteen More

How does
The plain
Transparency
Of water

Sprout these
Lacy fronds
And plumes
And tendrils?

And where
Before window-
Panes, did
They root

Their lush
Crystal forests,
Their cold
Silver jungles?

Frosty windows

Frosty windows

Frosty January morning

Frosty January morning

 

In-Between Time

December 8, 2010

Frost patterns on my car window

Frosty leaves and grass

It Was Beginning Winter
by Theodore Roethke

It was beginning winter,
An in-between time,
The landscape still partly brown:
The bones of weeds kept swinging in the wind,
Above the blue snow.

It was beginning winter,
The light moved slowly over the frozen field,
Over the dry seed-crowns,
The beautiful surviving bones
Swinging in the wind.

Light traveled over the wide field;
Stayed.
The weeds stopped swinging.
The mind moved, not alone,
Through the clear air, in the silence.

Was it light?
Was it light within?
Was it light within light?
Stillness becoming alive,
Yet still?

A lively understandable spirit
Once entertained you.
It will come again.
Be still.
Wait.

Frosty, Silvery Sheen

December 26, 2009

Assorted frosty leaves

Yesterday was crispy and cold.  I woke to the silvery sheen of a frost-lined world.  I love the patterns that emerge, become visible, when leaves are edged in white frost.

Frosty fern

Frost-edged shrub

Pattern of leaves trimmed in white frost

Frost, soon to melt in the sunshine

Frosty ivy

Frost-edged palm leaf

Jack Frost

November 16, 2009

IMG_3675

Frost on the windshield of my Pathfinder

IMG_3677

Frost patterns like feathers

IMG_3676

Morning frost on my windshield

Jack Frost
by Helen Bayley Davis

Someone painted pictures on my
     Windowpane last night —
Willow trees with trailing boughs
     And flowers, frosty white,

And lovely crystal butterflies;
     But when the morning sun
Touched them with its golden beams,
     They vanished one by one!

It’s cold enough these mornings for frost on the car windshield.  The icy patterns are exquisitely beautiful.  I remember Jack Frost visiting our old farmhouse in Minnesota.  When I was growing up, the upstairs was unheated, so our bedroom windows were often decorated with frost.