Daily, I ride my bike to and from school. The three and a half mile ride takes me through farm fields being converted to housing developments, along a golf course and through campus to North Commons, across from the Business Building. I change from my riding clothing to my classroom clothing and then finish the ride by crossing the street and locking my bike in front of the Business Building.
During my ride my mind flits from thought to thought in some semi-logical way. The random thoughts remind me of the flight of a honeybee during the summer – flying from clover to clover in a thoughtfully erratic pattern, pausing long enough to drink the sweet liquid sunshine hidden deep in each bloom.
Most times I can not recall my ride; just that I arrived at school ready for class, satisfied with twenty five minutes of quiet contemplation. However, one ride on a cold December morning remains etched in my memory.
In mid-November, we borrowed a copy of Snowflake Bentley from our local library, Schlow Library. My daughter binge reads new books and Snowflake Bentley proved an arresting read. The book describes Wilson Bentley’s life and his quest to photograph snowflakes. The author, Jacqueline Martin, and illustrator, Mary Azarian, described Bentley’s life and drive to photograph snowflakes that I gained a deeper appreciation for the art of snowflake photography.
For three days in early December, spectacular frost covered the earth. Snowflake Bentley caused me to be more aware of this special frost. Each morning the frost was somehow grander than the last.
On the last day of the magnificent frosts, I cruised downhill through a thicket adjacent to a new housing development under a brilliant sun and robin’s egg blue sky. The path through the thicket ends with a hard left hand turn at a farmer’s field before continuing uphill along the field. The most amazing sight awaited me as I exited the thicket.
Frost as thick as feathers covered the flora on the embankment opposite the bike path. The frosty embankment looked like a wave frozen mid-crash. The sun glinted through the frost. Individual plants hid behind the wispy brush strokes of ice. The sun melted the outline of the farmer’s fence into exposed frost.
After passing the farmer’s field, most of the frost had melted under the intense rays of the sun.
As I biked through Hort Woods on my way to North Commons, minuscule shooting stars appeared. Confused, I paused to observe the clear sky – not a snow cloud in sight. Then I noticed the sun-warmed tree tops. As the sun warmed the trees, the frost crystals began to melt and fall to the ground. The reflection of the sun off of each crystal gave the illusion of children’s sparklers on a mid-summer’s night.
I ended my ride, as I always do, at North Commons to change my clothes. As I changed, I thought of Snowflake Bentley and how much he would have appreciated the ice show.