Sunday morning I missed a golden opportunity to take some really awesome photos of winter in the Coulee Region – where I live in Wisconsin. The conditions, over night – from Saturday into Sunday – were ripe for the development of both hoarfrost and rime ice. What? You say? What are those?!
Even as an environmental educator, I had to look up the definitions of these phenomenon and how they form. And, instead of me botching the explanations, I’ll go right to the horse’s mouth, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA defines rime ice as: “an opaque coating of tiny, white, granular ice particles caused by the rapid freezing of supercooled water droplets on impact with an object.” As you can imagine, with so much beauty in the area, our local news also covered the phenomenon on several channels.
Rime ice gives the appearance of the object being covered with tiny spike like needles. Fog is needed to form rime ice. (WQOW, 2021)
“In short, the main difference between rime and hoarfrost is that rime is the result of freezing fog, hoarfrost forms in the absence of fog. Rime ice is formed when small supercooled water droplets freeze on contact with a surface which is below freezing.” (WSAW, 2021)
As an avid amateur photographer, I was mighty upset with myself. To make it worse, I tried to capture some shots from the inside of my house which I posted to my Silent Sunday (weekly photo only posts). They were just not as beautiful as what I continued to see all day long from others on social media and the local news. While the development of rime ice is, according to some, not all that uncommon in this area during the winter, the fact that I had another chance today to capture some more photos of the phenomenon was more rare. So, when I woke this morning, I jumped into some winter clothes and headed outside with my good camera in hand. Although I stayed in my own yard, I was pleased with my shots.
This experience reminded me of two things. One is that there is much to be in awe of in nature. Inspiring awe is one of my constants in teaching our youth about our environment. It only takes being aware of one’s surroundings to find something awe-inspiring. And, that other thing that missing out on Sunday’s glory made me wonder was what purpose I had in sharing my photography. I quickly came up with:
- sharing beauty and wonder
- inspiring awe
- filling my own consciousness with a sense of wonder and appreciation
- sharing my eye for our local lands
- a reminder of being grateful (for the beauty and my ability to take photos) – grateful is my OLW.
So, while I missed out on Sunday. Today, Tuesday, presented another opportunity and I took it. I think missing Sunday made me appreciate today more.
As if being rewarded for my efforts as I sat at my desk writing this blog post, I looked out the window to notice a bald eagle perched in one of the same trees I had been noticing this morning. The rime ice was nearly gone, just the tips of the very tallest branches had some left, and just below those sat a very majestic eagle overseeing my world.
I am lucky, indeed!
Today is Slice of Life Tuesday! Thank you to Two Writing Teachers and their weekly hosting of this supportive community of writers.