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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

The Snowflake ~ Winter's Secret Beauty

Sunday, February 8, 2015

One recent winter found me alone, rattling around inside the empty house 
with a record-breaking snowfall coming down with big, fluffy 
individual snowflakes falling faster and faster. 

As the snow swirled outside, I pulled out 

The Snowflake, Winter's Secret Beauty,  
written by Kenneth Libbrecht and with photography by Patricia Rasmussen,  
is a beautiful book filled with hundreds of large photos of snowflakes 
to illustrate the science and artistry of snowflake formations. 

As the snowstorm continued into the night and 
throughout the next day, I bundled up, peered out the windows, 
and thought, "The snow is just like a movie snow." 
Quietly it fell, hour after hour, creating a hushed landscape. 
Bit by bit, the traffic on the roads disappeared, 
and all was silent. 

All alone I was free to do what I wanted without a schedule. 

It was too cold for me to want to build a snowman, 
or to go sledding, or to join in a snowball fight. 

However, I wanted to experience the magic of the snow, 
to enjoy its beauty, and to do something. 
As I read through The Snowflake, Winter's Secret Beauty, 
I decided to use a magnifying glass to look at snowflakes. 
Yes, to look at snow with a little French flair! 

Yes, French flair can be used to watch snowflakes. 

After all, it was a Frenchman who recorded the 
first lengthy mathematical description of snowflake structures. 

René Descartes, 
French philosopher and mathematician, 
a man after my own heart or 
am I a woman after his own heart?, 
is credited with the earliest detailed account 
of snow-crystal structure in 1637. 

With just his naked eyes, he observed snowflakes and wrote could as well have described them as little crystal columns, decorated at each end with a six-petalled rose a little larger than their base... 

Bundled in a water-proof coat and gloves, I stood at our back French doors 
and held my left arm out the door to catch falling snowflakes on the black sleeve. 
Then, using the magnifying glass in my right hand, I examined 
flake after flake, looking for a 

P E R F E C T  ❆  S N O W F L A K E 

with all six of its sides intact. 
Periodically, I closed the door to warm up 
and then began anew looking for those perfect snowflakes. 

With french flair,  
I found one! 

One little snowflake stood on edge, rose above my sleeve, 
and glistened as I looked at it with the magnifying glass. 

One perfect snowflake created a memory of pure, perfect joy. 

Scenes around the house after the two-day snowfall 

For my snowbird blogger friends, 
our snowfall is nothing compared to what you receive every winter, 
but for several days that winter the world stood still here in North Texas. 

If you have never looked at snowflakes with a magnifying glass, 
you must do it. 


Life is often hectic with deadlines and with unexpected twists. 
Here's hoping February brings some respite from the world. 

Please join me at these inspiring sites...


  1. Judith, I didn't realize you had two days of snow. This is a lovely post. I've never looked at a snowflake. Your photos are gorgeous. Happy Week to you!

    1. This snowfall was a couple of years ago.


  2. Un floçon de neige est vraiment joli! Oh Judith, BONJOUR! You are the second blogger I was thinking about and wondering where you've been.....and HERE YOU ARE! It's so good to see a post from you,and such a pensive and magical one. Yes, those tiny crystals looked at closer are such a miracle, such a gift from the sky. JE T'EMBRASSE! Anita

  3. Beautiful post and the final collage is wonderful.

    Now, I will have to add a magnifying glass to our ski clothes bins so I will have one on the off chance we get snow on our next ski trip.

  4. Judith,
    Your words told through your beautiful photo essay created a poetic look at winters beauty. But sometimes winter's gift to us is not always appreciated! I find snowfall magical as it blankets nature in a hush. I will look for the book, I know I would enjoy it. Next Philadelphia snowfall think of me outside with my magnifying glass discovering the beauty of snowflakes. Pretty post.

  5. JUDITH! Bonsoir!

    I just saw your comment in my email, but can you just verify that you sent me an email? Reason being is I am getting a message in yellow above the text that "This message may not be from Botanic Bleu" and something else about spam. I want to respond, but I just want to make sure before I click! Anita

  6. What a lovely frosty and crispy! Snowflakes are really beautiful...
    Have a great day, take care!

  7. Awww, a snow flakes beauty shared over here with you couldn't get any more soulful. Really quite, quiet, and so French grey at the same time. No two flakes alike yet piled together it's blanket is only seen as that.

    A beautiful post, and I am glad I stopped by

  8. Lovely post.We still have quite a bit of snow but the BIG storm missed us, so I am thankful for that, but praying for Boston who got walloped but good. 5 &1/2 weeks til Spring!

  9. Beautiful, Judith! We rarely get snow here and when it does, it melts almost immediately! I sort of miss the snowy days we used to enjoy when living in the Midwest! I do not miss driving in it or shoveling it, however! I'm content to enjoy it through your lovely photos!

  10. I was taken away to a magical place! Lovely post!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  11. That looks like a beautiful book! Thank you for linking with Home Sweet Home!


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