Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Melting snow on a foggy day in Vancouver

Vancouver's foggy morning, 7:48 a.m.

Closeup shots of melting pile of snow:

Fresh snow intrigues everybody, but dirty piles of melting snow are either disgusting or a nuisance, viewed solely as an inevitable transition we must endure until the snow either disappears or returns with a fresh coat.

But the "dirty" snow has a beauty all its own. It visibly records what has fallen to the ground for the past several weeks--debris from our trees and particulates from our city's air.

A closer look at a melting pile of snow on our side street revealed new crystal structures (I obviously need a different tripod to capture this more fully), crystals which became rounded as they were eroded by warmer temperatures. These new shapes are quite different from the earlier symmetrical structures of the fresh snowflakes several weeks ago. The dirt in the snow will soon replenish the meager soil in our front yard (our soil is essentially glacial dump consisting of large rocks which are nearly impossible to move by hand, stones and stones finely ground into sand dropped here some 10,000 years ago when the ice age left this region). I am slowly learning to appreciate and enjoy this stage of snow.