This morning at the bus stop, I was bored and my toes were cold, so I amused myself by looking at the snowflakes falling on my outstretched hand. Which, incidentally, amused my fellow queuers, because they got to watch a woman smiling idiotically at her outstretched hand.

Amazing little things, snowflakes. That each one is unique boggles the imagination. Mine is boggling – is yours? Seriously, when you think about all the snowflakes EVER, how can this be possible? (Although according to our friend, Wikipedia, matching snow crystals were discovered in Wisconsin in 1988. How they found them, Wiki declines to tell us, but I know how resourceful those Wisconsinites can be. Or perhaps the fact that there’s a wonderful road house every 500 yards has something to do with this claim.) How can each snowflake form so perfectly and yet be so incredibly transient is also a boggler.  And a reflection of many other facets of our existence, if one were to choose to wax philosophical.

I think I’ve seen some remarkably similar, but perhaps “they” are right. (Are “they” always scientists? Is there a building somewhere where “they” go to work every day, and then use minions to spread “their” well-researched factoids until said factoids become common knowledge?)

In 1885, Wilson Alwyn Bentley began his endless quest for two identical snowflakes. He photographed thousands of them with a microscope, and he, along with others through history classified and categorized them, and shared their wide variety with us and the rest of history.

Do you remember how old you were when you first saw snow? When someone told you no two snowflakes were alike? Do you remember trying to find two that were? Do you remember folding white paper and snipping it, then unfolding it to make your own remarkable snowflake, designed at random?

I saw one today that reminded me of a sheriff’s badge. And according to Google, the largest snowflake ever was 15 inches in diameter, and was seen in Montana in 1887. As brief a life as snowflakes have, I am amazed that anyone could capture and record it. I mean, how did whoever know it was going to fall? How did they measure it? In the air? After it fell on the snow? Ane what are the odds of capturing it?  I’m sure there have been larger ones – just none that a human has ever caught.

I may be sounding quasi-eloquent on the amazingness of snowflakes, but those of you who read these pages often know that I am not a cold-weather girl, that I would sooner see sand than snow any day. But in the spirit of appreciating life as it is given, we must bloom or freeze where we are planted. For me, that’s here, now, among the snowflakes.