The Brief Lives of Ice
by Steve Lockie
Snow crystals are composed of small prismatic tubular entities. Each crystal is independent, but adjacent crystals mesh like cogs. Children love them. Perceived under a microscope, they look like toys.
Their brevity is part of their charm. They melt so quickly in the steam of children’s breath that the microscope has to be shaken free of moisture and wiped before a fresh scoop is placed beneath the lens. Through the eye-piece, this new pile of crazy cartwheels gives much joy.
Having examined snow crystals, children inevitably search about in the frozen garden for other objects to study: a piece of wood, a dead leaf or a piece of rotten marrow is thrust beneath the lens. These dead entities invariably prove disappointing. Nothing is so exciting as the brief lives of ice.