[Nope, not whore, hoar! — From the Old English, meaning “showing signs of old age,” as in old, wizened and white haired.]
If we’re lucky, about two times a year in this dry, cold, wintry climate, we are in for a spectacular treat. When conditions are just right… when we have cold temps and moist air… when desublimation can occur and not simply the formation of ice… the landscape is blanketed in a magical coat of glistening white crystals. Sometimes they form the most delicate frost feathers. Sometimes, they form mini skyscraper cities of tall, rectangular blocks. But always, they paint the world a luminous white and transform the landscape, like magic.
I’ve been holding my breath, hoping that I didn’t miss it this winter with the time I’ve spent away from home. And on our way back to Edmonton yesterday, driving through a thick blanket of nighttime fog, I just knew that this was it.
The next morning, the world would be transformed.
It’s as if the fog creeps through the forest with silent footsteps, it’s breath snagging on every trunk, limb, branch and leaf, caught in a glistening, crystal-covered, suspended animation. You can even see the direction that the fog moves through the landscape by the direction in which the crystals grow. It is like magic. Our immediate, little world becomes a living, breathing thing of beauty.
A part of me feels like I’ve been holding my breath, waiting until I could experience this year’s display. Now I can breathe….