Tag Archives: snow thoughts

Thoughts on Snow: Part 2

Recently, we offered some thoughts about snow … in particular, we tried to answer the question of why snow is so white. As a final “thought” on that, we learned that how a snowflake “appears” depends upon light. And, except for rare occasions, “no two snowflakes are alike.” I did think that, in God’s creation, no two people are alike … we are all different. We are all “people,” with the same basic make-up, but no two are exactly alike. Just like with snowflakes, each one is different. That is amazing, and proves, yet again, just how amazing God really is. And, intelligent. It did not escape me, that, even in a snowflake, how it “appears” depends upon light. Just like us! How we “appear” to others depends-totally and absolutely-upon how we reflect His light. We have written much about how just a little light makes so large of a difference to surroundings … Just like snow … to appear white … we must expose ourselves to the Light …

I must admit that I have spent much time recently thinking about snow. After a great, long Autumn, well, Winter finally arrived. And, everywhere I’ve ever lived, it’s always the same. No matter when it comes … no matter how many Winters we’ve been through … we are always “surprised” when it arrives. We never seem to be ready for it … even when God gives us many, many extra days of nice weather to prepare. Again, we always capitalize “Winter,” out of respect. So, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about snow. Maybe it’s been because of all these hours I’ve spent dealing with it. One day this week (I don’t really remember which day, as they all seem to look alike, with snow every day …), I was up at 5:30, and when I was out on the front porch at 5:45, I could hear snow-blowers going in the neighborhood. I joined them at 6:05 … this is AM, by the way … I was up and ready to go … after all, I hadn’t snowblown the driveway since … since … well, 9:00PM the night before …

Last night (Thursday), I got home from school, and immediately changed into the “snow plow” outfit, which means “layers,” and pulled on my new -40 boots … and, promptly went up on the roof to shovel snow and ice … then, I shoveled the snow from “my side” of the driveway (the spruce trees which had been holding the wet snow for the past couple of days released their bounty sometime that day), as there were 3 or 4 new inches of snow … even though we hadn’t really gotten any new snow to speak of, that day … then, I shoveled the end of the driveway, where it piles up (like a huge speed bump), from when the city snow plow goes by … If you don’t remove this long row of snow, after it freezes it really does become like a concrete speed bump …

Good thing we don’t have snow predicted for today, except for the “less than one inch” we’ll have in the forecast for the next 3 or 4 months … seemingly, every day. By the way, just so you’ll know that our weather forecasters are just like yours … when I got home from school today, I finished shoveling the rest of the snow from the front porch … no problem … I just went back out, and had to shovel again, what has fallen in the last hour or so … it’s coming down pretty good now, and we have already gotten much more than the “less than one inch” …

So, yes, I guess I have thought about “snow” a lot
the last few days …

Hey! Look! The calendar! Winter “officially” arrives a week from Sunday. I was working in a classroom today, and one of the ladies was putting on her snow boots, getting ready for recess duty. It was a fine pair of boots, rubber soles, insulated … I gave her this encouragement:
“Hey! Just think! Another 5 months and you won’t even need those!!!”

The hardest part is still the Spring … yes, the Spring. And, that’s because we have access to the national weather forecast … and, are able to see what the weather is like in the rest of the country …

As a motivational writer, I thought it was time to consider “the benefits of snow.” I really did a Google Search on subjects like “what are the benefits of snow,” and things like “is snow really a good fertilizer?” There really are benefits to snow. Plus, let’s never forget that God is fully capable to bless you … in any kind of weather … And, like a lot of things … to receive the benefits of anything, to realize the blessings included, it sometimes just depends upon our attitude …

Man!!! It is STILL coming down out there!!!!
Whoops! Sorry!

How glad I am to have heat (it was -15 just last Sunday night and our pipes froze), shelter, running water (and hot water) … I am surrounded by blessing … And-really-to have windows to look out of, and to be able to see, period …
To have warm clothing, to have so much … Sorry … had to look back outside again … I just went back out to the front deck, and there is twice as much snow as there was when I shoveled just under an hour ago … I check the weather forecast, and, while there is the standard “20% chance of precipitation,” there is no accumulation mentioned … however, I do see that we have a 60% chance of “snow showers” tomorrow, Saturday. While I am on the front deck, shoveling, I hear the neighbors come out from across the street … from their language … they seem just as surprised as I am that their truck is covered in snow … I won’t repeat what they said, but, I could tell they were surprised …

Did I mention that there really are “benefits” to snow? Well, apparently, there are:
One major benefit of a good snow cover is that snow functions as an excellent insulator of the soil. Without snow, very cold temperatures can freeze the soil deeper and deeper. This could lead to damage of root systems of trees and shrubs. The insulation effect of snow also helps protect perennials, bulbs, ground covers, and strawberry plantings from alternating freezing and thawing cycles. Without snow, milder temperatures mixed with the sun, could warm the soil surface, leading to damage from soil heaving, which can break roots and dry out plant parts. Snow also helps conserve soil moisture over the winter.

On days when the snow melts, it provides needed water. Lakes, rivers, streams and ponds benefit from snow by having their water supplies increased. When drought plagues an area, snowy winters can change the course of dry seasons. The entire ecosystem is maintained when water supplies are sufficient.

Snow is such a good insulator that some animals dig snow caves in which to hibernate. New snow is composed of a high percentage of air trapped among the accumulated snow crystals. Since the air can barely move, heat transfer is greatly reduced. Fresh, uncompacted snow typically is 90 to 95 percent trapped air. Many animals take advantage of snow’s insulating qualities, and burrow into the snow to hibernate through the winter.

Guess what? Snow reduces the insect pest population. Many damaging insects are unable to survive snow and cold.

I’ve always heard that it was good when it snowed because snow is called a “poor man’s fertilizer.” Is this true?
Aside from water, nitrogen is the only element that snow puts back into the Earth. However, lightning and rain actually emit a greater proportion of nitrogen than snow. What makes snow good for the soil is that it feeds nitrogen into the soil at a slower and more even rate (through melting) than a thunderstorm, which delivers precipitation at a more rapid rate.

So, what do you say now? Gotta love that snow!
But, I think, most importantly, we must learn to “be content in whatever state we are in.”
And, in whatever weather we are in.

To close (as I probably need to go back out and shovel), every area of the United States has its own particular weather issues … and, I know, many of those weather issues are much, much worse than snow … Period. More dangerous, and more costly. I will be completely honest: If I had to choose between some of the weather I’ve experienced, and what I see going on now throughout parts of the country … I think I’d pick the snow. We know when it’s coming (within reason), and we know when it is leaving (within reason). Regardless of where you are, and that includes here and there … God has placed you there … for a particular reason … Be grateful for where He has placed you, and go about “doing the business for which you were placed.”

And, that means, you must be ready, yes, in any season, and “in any kind of weather.”
God won’t place you where He can’t protect you.
God won’t place you where He won’t protect you.
God won’t place you where He can’t bless you.
God won’t place you where he won’t bless you.
And …
God won’t place you where you can’t bless others…
Regardless of … and, let’s face it …sometimes, because of … the weather.

Blessings to you, and your family,

Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Modern-Day Psalms

 

Thoughts on Snow: Part One

Well, we just got our first major snowfall of the season here, and, as we only got just under a foot of snow, how can we complain, after what our friends over in upstate New York have been going through.

Yet again, I am reminded of how important it is to thank God-every day-for our everyday “conveniences” … how I pray not to ever take for granted, and to thank God, personally, every day for electricity, running water (and hot water!), for heat, for shelter from the weather, for our vehicles (including my bicycle), for having a stove and refrigerator … etc. etc. …

 God has a way of reminding us just how blessed we are … and, if I may use the term “unfortunately,” it is usually when we realize or see, someone who has it “worse off” than us. That’s why I make a point every day to thank him for what we so often take for granted … I already know how blessed I am, and most importantly, Who those blessings come from. I want Him to know I am grateful … not just for what He has already done … but, for what I know He is going to do.

 We have been blessed up here in the North Country, having enjoyed a really nice, and extended, Fall season. I have had friends from upstate New York, and I remember them explaining to me, back when I was in Georgia, and had no clue what real Winter was, how they only had a certain number of weekends in the year when they could enjoy being outdoors, when they had “good” weather. I remember that it wasn’t too many weekends. They would tell me how they would have to cram every outdoor activity they wanted to do, into these weekends. That’s why they would “go nuts” for a few weekends every year, swimming, hiking, boating, just being outside in “shirt sleeves” for these very few, numbered days. God bless them! I have a small idea of what it’s like to be stuck in “Winter-mode” while I know most of the country is enjoying nice weather … but, that’s just part of it. Our Winters up here are long, and hard, and long, and hard, and long, and … well, you get the idea …

Robert Frost used to say that when the snow covers the ground, for the first time in New Hampshire, you don’t see the ground again until May. He’s right. By the way … what a great name for a writer living in New Hampshire! Just thought about that. I remember one of my favorite quotes from Helen Keller, how she has met some people who were colder than any Nor’easter she had ever experienced. That doesn’t really fit into this subject, but it did allow me to mention Helen Keller and a Nor’easter …

So, anyway, at school on Wednesday, before Thanksgiving, as we were at the door awaiting the arrival of Kindergarteners, we were discussing snow. One of the things I was the most surprised about, after moving to northern New Hampshire, was how so many people who live up here hate the cold … and, hate the snow. I’m sure that’s the same way everywhere. We never seem to be happy, so matter where we are. I guess that’s another subject for another time, too …

Anyway, there are also many folks up here who love the Winter, and love the snow that comes with it. In fact, they are thrilled when the forecast calls for that first major storm. Thrilled! I guess it does take all kinds … anyway … we were talking about snow, and how “white” it is. I mean, there is just nothing that is whiter than snow. It is so pure … so white … so beautiful (the first time it falls … then, “ok that’s enough … you can leave now” …). We were comparing our clothing to the color of snow. We had white shirts, but not as white as snow. We would point things out, around us, which were white, but, no, they weren’t “whiter than snow.” Or as white as snow.

So, later, as I plowed the snow for the first time this year, and, just today, as I raked the roof … yes, up here we have to rake the roof … What do you mean, “How do we do that?” With a roof rake, of course! Hey-I just got a new pair of Winter boots … good to -40 Celsius! I’m not sure how cold that is, but I’m sure I’ll need them. The old snow boots just won’t take duct tape anymore … So, as I was “enjoying” all this Winter activity, I really started to wonder, “Just why is the snow so white?”

So, I did research: I found out a lot of scientific information to explain why snow is so white. It seems the real fact is that snow “appears” to be white. The explanation was pretty elaborate … I didn’t want a Degree … I just wanted to know why snow is so white …

The bottom-line reason that snow appears to be white is because, when you combine all of the colors in the spectrum together … you get “white.” Really? Yes. Here’s the scientific explanation (highly edited):
Snow is a whole bunch of individual ice crystals arranged together. Basically, all the crystals bounce the light all around, so all colors of light are bounced back out. The “color” of all the frequencies in the visible spectrum combined in equal measure is white. So this is the color we see in snow. So even though individual ice crystals are clear, their combined form – which is snow – bounces off light frequency in such a way that the final result, as we see it, is “white snow.” By the way, individual snowflakes actually do appear clear when viewed up close (under a microscope).
Snowflakes are not frozen raindrops. They’re an aggregation, or cluster, of thousands of ice crystals that fall from a cloud.

I did get the opportunity to brag on God, about He is so brilliant, He is able to make every snowflake different … just as He has made all of us different. God uses what we would call “scientific methods” to do His work. I call this “scientific processes.” In teaching about healing, I use the fact that, since God invented the process, He can step in for a moment, stop or change the process (since He invented it), and put the normal process back to working again. Again, that explains why God can heal. He is the Creator of the process, so He can control it.

Now … back to snow … Why is it that “no two snowflakes are alike?” Is this true? I figure that God can make them anyway He chooses … and, if He chooses, He could make them all alike. Individual snowflakes all follow slightly different paths from the sky to the ground, and therefore encounter slightly different atmospheric conditions along the way. This, in turn, means that each snowflake will have a slightly different growth rate and shape. Because of this, it is very unlikely that any two snowflakes will appear to be identical. But while it’s unlikely, it isn’t impossible. There have been a few occasions when twin snowflakes were found. Since so many factors affect the structure of a snowflake, and since a snowflake’s structure is constantly changing in response to environmental conditions, it is improbable that anyone would see two identical snowflakes.

One more fact about snowflakes: An average snowflake measures 1/2 inch in diameter, but can grow as large as 3 to 4 inches across. The largest snowflake on record occurred in Fort Keogh, Montana in January of 1887: It was 15 inches in diameter! Can you imagine looking outside your window … and, see snow falling … with snowflakes 15 inches wide …

Well, that’s about it for the scientific part of our program …
In closing, there is one thing I have learned, which goes against what I had heard, before moving up here:
I have learned to never say, or believe, that “it’s too cold to snow.”
I also always capitalize the word “Winter.” I do this out of respect. It reminds me of times I have traveled along the Mississippi River. The people always speak of “the River” with awe and respect. You can just hear it in their voices. So, I have learned to speak of “Winter” with respect. And, to learn to respect it, as I have lived with it.

I guess I’ve getting really adapted to the weather up here. I mentioned that we just had our first “major” snow. This is true, but we’ve had snow on the ground for a while, just not a foot. So, this past week, I dragged the grill over to the center of our front deck/porch …. And, I cooked hamburgers, on the grill … on top of the snow …
Then, just yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I was out on the porch … the sun was trying to shine brightly … there was no wind … and it was 30 degrees …. I felt like wearing a T-Shirt …

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Modern-Day Psalms