Perhaps by now we are all just a bit tired and feeling a bit gnarly hearing about snow. About now “snow” is something we’ve slid our cars on , shoveled enough of, and are tired of seeing dirty piles of. But what about snowflakes???? Do we ever tire of seeing the beauty of snowflakes??
We have Wilson A. Bentley, 1865 – 1931, to thank for discovering unto us the magical beauty of each individual snowflake. Bentley was born and lived on a farm near Jericho, Vermont. He was a self-educated scientist and pioneering photographer who documented the beauty and structure of snowflakes. His collection of photomicrographs numbers some 5,000 pictures; many are published in his book, Snow Crystals. Thanks to an American Profiles Sunday newspaper magazine back in January 2012 (by Dick Matthews), which piqued my interest, I’ve done some Googling to learn more about Wilson A. Bentley and his snowflakes.
Bentley grew up in Vermont’s Green Mountains where he had long winters and plenty to snow to fuel his passion. He began experimenting in the 1880s to discern the best way to photograph snowflakes. With the limited technology of his day it’s amazing what he accomplished. Was his work appreciated by his town, friends and family? Most were tolerant of his hobby but did not consider it practical. Only after some scientific journals began to take notice and his book was published did he achieve some measure of fame. He died of pneumonia in 1931 a few days after a long trudge home through a snowstorm.
The Jericho Historical Society maintains a museum and exhibit of Bentley’s work at the Old Red Mill in Jericho. Click to www.jerichohistoricalsociety.org to learn more. You might also want to click to www.snowflakebentley.com where you can also learn more, order Bentley’s books, snowflake cards and posters and charm bracelets.
Here is a quote from Bentley that tells you of the man: “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others.” I agree, Mr. Bentley; I think we would all agree…………no matter how tired we are of snow.
Donna, aka Mother Hen, until next peek.