The Beauty of the Snowflake

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Why is it so hard to find six-pointed snowflakes these days?  Are six-pointed snowflakes difficult to generate on a computer? I am nearly illiterate on computers, but I suspect that creating six rather than eight points should not pose a big problem. So why do so many decorative snowflakes have eight points?

I can only guess that it is sheer ignorance that has created a world of clip art impostor snowflake designs. It is something along the lines of the spellcheck programs that don’t want me to write “colour.”

Why is the shape of a snowflake important? We must have an understanding and appreciation for the natural world that supports our life. It is only through knowledge that we can conduct our lives in a way that enhances natural processes instead of destroying them.

Yes, it IS important to know that water is made up of two hydrogen and one oxygen atom. It is important to know that H2O freezes at zero degrees Celsius, and boils at 100 C. We learn in school that it takes one calorie of energy to raise the temperature of one cc of water 1 C. Yet, few children are taught the geometry of folding a sheet of paper to make a six-pointed snowflake. No wonder they have grown up to program computers to make square snow.

Just as students of math are required to spell correctly, so proper science and nature must be taught in art and math classes. There is a need to demonstrate that all things are connected.

Sadly, as our society becomes more oriented to “information,” we move further away from our natural roots. Kids today are expected to spend lots of time working on the computer. We have less and less emphasis on getting them outside to experience first hand the science of nature. It is all available “online.” Yet where is the “truth check” of reality?

Our culture has strayed far from our connections with the reality of our environment. Winter weather gives a fine example of how we choose to defy our environment rather than live within it. We have learned to despise the snow instead of embracing it. We force ourselves to drive through blizzards, rather than give in to a change in our schedule.

A good winter storm is a beautiful thing if you don’t have to travel very far. It is wonderful to get out on snowshoes and feel the power of the wind and snow. Even a short walk into the yard can be invigorating. It feels refreshing to be all bundled up, warm and comfortable and breathing in the fresh, fine frozen air.

In Oslo, they are well adapted to life in winter. A network of ski trails through the city allows people to travel safely to work, school, shopping. Buses are designed to allow skis to accompany passengers so they can ski home after work.

In Norway they they say there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Buy your kids some warm clothes this Christmas instead of another CD for the computer. Take them outside to look at the beauty of snowflakes. Play! Enjoy!

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