Most people don't like cold weather, but I absolutely love it! I love to wear hiking boots, thick socks, a heavy jacket, gloves, and a knit cap. I love the nip in the fresh air, frozen water, and early morning frost. But, most of all I love the beautiful phenomenons of nature that cold weather brings.
When traveling through the Ozarks recently my instincts screamed at me to pull over at an overlook area. I've stopped here many times and taken pictures of the White River running through the valley below and the bridges that cross it. On this particular morning the scene below me left me a little breathless. The cold morning plus the warm water of the river created a beautiful mist that hovered over the water.
I drove down to the river and walked along the bank where rocks and leaves were covered with frost. The mist hovering above the water and the heavy frost glistened in the sunshine.
The blowing wind sent the mist over grasses and trees on the far bank covering them with ice.
Although the mist and river were beautiful, the highlight of the morning was what I discovered on the far bank in the grasses. I saw these little icy creations. They were frost flowers! I've seen pictures of frost flowers, but these were the first I've spotted. Frost flowers are beautiful and fascinating.
Seeing this phenomenon of nature is rare. Circumstances must be just right for frost flowers to form. The weather conditions must be freezing, but the ground not frozen. The best time to see them is on early winter mornings after a warm spell and then a drop in temperatures. They are hard to discover as their thin layers melt very quickly as the sun and temperatures rise.
As the temperature drops to freezing the stems of plants expand, causing the outer layer to split. As water is drawn up the plant's stem and reaches the split, it slowly oozes out and freezes. The seeping water creates patterns which curl and fold into gorgeous flowers. The scientific name of frost flowers is crystallofolia. They've been called nature's exquisite ice extrusions, frost castles, ice castles, and ice blossoms.
If I hadn't have stopped at the overlook, seen the mist, took time to drive down to the river, and walk to the far banks, I wouldn't have seen these amazing frost flowers. I continually remind myself that finding unusual things means I have to get out, wander, and follow my instincts. When I do, I usually discover beauty and beauty brings me joy!
when held with wonderment,
opens us to the magic of discovery."
~ Patricia Turner