Sometimes I think I am one of the luckiest people in the world. God gave me a true love of the natural world, and everyday I find a prize: a gorgeous sunrise or cloud formation, a soft supple petal on a flower, the extraordinary flight of an eagle. And just recently, I was allowed the wonder of frost flowers blooming on the forest floor.
Frost flowers are an enigma, something I was not sure I believed in, having searched for them a long time. It is easier not to believe in something you cannot see than to accept it exists but you are not smart enough or lucky enough to find it. But my turn finally came.
My husband and I visited Flag Springs Conservation area last weekend. We left early in the morning hoping to see some eagles on the way. We got to Flag Springs around 9:30 a.m. with overcast skies and temperatures in the low twenties. Along the side of the road, I began to see what looked like feathers on the ground. I wondered out loud why there were chicken feathers in this remote area. My husband said the magic words that made me stop the car, "It looks like ice to me."
Evan though I had doubted their existence, I had studied frost flowers hoping to learn some secret method of discovery. They typically occur the night of the first cold snap. I understood the concept of water expanding when it freezes. It made sense that they disappeared with the light of day and the sun's melting rays. After all my studying and searching, there before me, the forest floor was covered with blooming frost flowers.
As is true with all natural things, sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time. The lacy ribbons invited me to capture them with my camera, while my husband waited patiently in the car.
I am finally at peace with the visions of frost flowers that used to float through my dreams. I have photographed them, touched their cold lacy ribbons, and watched as the sun quickly melted them away. I happily join the ranks of the lucky ones who have seen and touched real frost flowers. Secretly, I gloat that I am likely the only human to have observed the beauty of a particular frost flower. However, I am also willing to share my experience and photographs with you in the hope that you will dream of them like I did, and next year you will find yourself outside on a cold winter morning in search of your own frost flower experience.