Friday, December 19, 2008

A Time for Flakes...and the Man Who Loved Them...

I sure do love the snow. Even the kind that sticks to the ground everywhere, so much so that it takes two days to get back outside and go anywhere... There is just something so Nature-ific and majestic about it all, y'know? We had a real doozy of a storm around here last night ~ one that didn't actually end until this afternoon, somewhere between 3-4 pm. Lucky for me, I had a couple of errands to run that would not wait, so with the girls shoveling and scraping, I was able to venture out into the wild unknown...and it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be! So, all in all, as a die-hard snow bunny myself, from way back, I am pleased to announce that it was actually fun being out there... I read a book about a month ago about a man who was known the world over as the Snowflake Man, Wilson A. Bentley. He was a farmer in the late 1800's-mid 1900's, living in Vermont, sharing a house with his brother's family.
He did many things in his lifetime, not the least of which was play several musical instruments (mostly the piano), and work the farm with his brother. But his true love was the snow ~ from his earliest childhood days, all he really cared about was being out in the open air, collecting flakes on his photo-micrograph plate and taking pictures of his collection, as quickly as it would land, before it had a chance to melt.
I would love to post more about Bentley here, but for now, suffice it to say that he was a man after my own heart.
I can certainly empathize with someone who loves so dearly to be out, surrounded by Nature and all her magnificence ~ even to the point of tying a grasshopper to a flower overnight just so he could photograph it in the morning, covered in the dew!
Who else would have thought of such a thing?!?
By the time he died, Bentley was world-famous, but he never got rich from all of his work...not from his raindrops studies, not from his rock collecting and research, not from his musical ability...and most of all, not from the love of his life, snowflakes and all the finery of Winter.
He once said that he had spent more thousands of dollars on his passion than what he made (something over $4,000) but his true joy was sharing the beauty of Nature with as many people as he could possibly reach.
This he did, and he continues to do so even to this day.
As time goes on, I'm sure I will be posting about this man, all of his findings and most of all, his truly quirky character...he was surely one-of-a-kind. But for now, I am content to revel in the glories of my own personal Winter wonderland ~ and all the joy that goes with it!

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