Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stopping by the neighborhood on a snowy morning

Walking the dog lets me see some phenomena of nature I might otherwise miss. Remember my story about the frost flowers? This morning I got to see another sight, new and unique.

We were on the streets just before the crack o' dawn. Yesterday's fresh snowfall had received a thin overnight coating of Colorado's famous powder, perfectly formed crystals that absorb and reradiate light like so many billions of microscopic mirrors. Like the surface of a mountain lake, the brilliant blue of the predawn sky colored the snow everywhere. Near the streetlamps, the sides of drifts and piles facing the lamps were splashed with yellow light. And all of the east-facing snow features glowed with the orange and pink of the horizon that heralded the coming of a perfect sunrise.

If we stood in the right place, we could see all three colors of snow at once. It was magic at six below (that's 21 below for my Canubian and European readers), but it was short-lived magic. Twenty minutes later, all the snow was a brilliant white.

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