In the current issue of the New Yorker is a column (The Talk of the Town) titled "All alike, " about snowflakes.
In elementary school we learned that every snowflake is different. I caught snowflakes on cold microscope slides and tried to examine them with magnifying glasses and maybe a cold microscope, I don't remember, but I do remember seeing for myself that every snowflake that fell from the skies above Vestavia Hills was different, based on the dozens that I saw.
I wonder if that was my first venture into statistical analysis, using "dozens" to draw conclusions about "millions," but I digress.
The New Yorker article mentions a sign in the Starbucks at Forty-second and Sixth, that reads, "Friends are like snowflakes: Beautiful and different."
I don't know if that sign is a Starbucks standard, or unique to that store - in my one venture into a Starbucks during the Holiday Season this year, I was more focused on deciding between my perennial favorite that includes caramel; or my new BCFF (Best Coffee Fave Forever) that includes peppermint and foam.
And while we often watch the snow fall and exclaim about BIG snowflakes we must realize that those huge flakes are really collections of small snowflakes that have stuck to one another on their way to earth.
These big snowflakes falling in front of our entryway are actually plastic replicas from the Dollar Tree, and they are all alike. (Photo by Paul Davis)
Again I have strayed from my chosen theme for this post, but its so easy to stray when speaking, or writing, or pondering, about snow.
Adam Gopnik, the author of the article, did some research, and discovered that snowflakes are really snow crystals and that (gasp!) they are actually all alike at creation.
Gopnik quotes Australian science writer Karl Kruszelnicki, "As a snowflake falls, it tumbles through many different environments. So the snowflake that you see on the ground is deeply affected by the different temperatures, humidities, velocities, turbulences, etc, that it has experienced on the way."
Gopnik also suggest Starbucks change their sign to read, "Friends are like snowflakes; more beautiful each time you cross their paths in common descent."
I would expand that thought a bit. It's not just friends that are more beautiful. Strangers, as well, in fact, all people are beautiful, as this photo of an overpass in Birmingham (by Jennifer West) attests. This is from Magic City Post.com. (The graffiti was recently vandalized and soon after painted over).
Try to remember that as you board the bus, or crowd into an elevator, or fight the crowds at the mall, or battle for position on the interstate. We are all, beautiful.
Here's a video of two snowflakes created with dominoes. And what happens to domino creations?
And here is Enya, "Amid the Falling Snow." The star of the video is Luna, however, a Dutch cat experiencing her first snow.