Snowflake Bentley

The first sign of winter here in North Texas appeared yesterday with the arrival of cold temperatures and even a few snowflakes on the ground. It reminded me of this story I wrote a couple of years ago. I love sharing this. I hope it reminds each of you how unique and special you were created to be…..

 

If you’ve ever heard the expression, “No two snowflakes are alike,” you have Wilson Bentley to thank for it.

Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley was born, appropriately, in the winter of 1865. He spent his entire life on the family farm in Jericho, Vermont, just a few miles from the Canadian border. Harsh winters with heavy snowfall kept most local children from attending school. So, Bentley’s education came mostly from his mother, a former schoolteacher.

Mrs. Bentley instilled in young Wilson a love of learning and a curiosity about the world. As a young boy, ice crystals fascinated him. He used his mother’s microscope to study the shapes of the plentiful snowflakes of the Vermont winters. He became frustrated, however when his attempt at drawing the designs of each crystal proved difficult. The ice melted too quickly and his sketches did not do them justice.

A solution presented itself in the newly developing field of photography. Bentley acquired a bellows camera along with equipment to magnify the small flakes. Through much trial and error, he produced the first photograph of a snowflake in 1885. He would produce hundreds more over his lifetime.

The technical feat that Wilson Bentley performed in photographing something so elusive as a snowflake is to be admired. But further study of his body of work can stir awe in the hearts of men and women at the Creator of the snowflake.

It’s true that each snowflake has a unique character. Some spread out like evergreen tree branches. Others look like Grandmother’s lace, intricately knitted together. Still others resemble spider webs or the webbed feet of water-dwelling birds.

Yet with so much variety, there is a pattern that is consistent throughout. A hexagonal, or 6-sided shape rules each design. Branches or spokes radiate out from the central point of each crystal. Several lines of symmetry exist, though not perfect, still obvious in form.

One drop of water, frozen among an infinite number of others is not a random, haphazard mess. It has structure, unity and beauty. The Creator of every star in the universe, of the Earth and all the animals of the land, sky and sea, the one who breathed life into man, created order in the snowflakes. No detail of creation escaped His design.

And thanks to Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, we can see it with our eyes.

To learn more and see Bentley’s amazing work, go to http://www.snowflakebentley.com

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