Sunday, December 14, 2003

Nice to have snow here in Oxford.....close to 3 inches worth. Tis a welcome change to the drab scenery of dormant winter vegetation.

We tend to think of snow in terms of it's "purity." Its white appearance no doubt lends to that. But if you ask a snowflake (and I have), it may be anything but pure.

We see snow as "white" not because of its purity, but quite the contrary. Snow is just frozen water droplets that are no longer light enough to be carried by the winds in the cloud. The size of the flake may depend upon the moisture content available in the atmosphere.

When a cloud forms, and subsequently, precipitation, it is because tiny water droplets coalesce, or fuse/join with microscopic particulate matter in the atmosphere called aerosols. Much of these aerosols can be free-floating pollutants. When enough moisture joins the aerosol, it can become too heavy to be suspended in the cloud and it falls to the ground as precipitation.

We see white because of the nature of the ice crystals' alignment. The snowflake crystal has multiple facets which bend pure light into a variety of directions so that we a wash of not one pure color, but many. In fact, we have misjudged the snowflake; it is not an entity of purity. We have just assigned that quality to it.

I'm not a subject of purity either. I suffer from a multiplicity of faces that cover for what's really underneath. As such, I bend, refract pure Light as well. I, too, become a product of pollutants to which I have been attracted. Thankfully, it is because of the worth assigned to me by Someone else that warrants an assumed purity that is not my own.