Monday, February 13, 2017

A Glimpse of Hoar Frost

Last week we awoke to a thick heavy fog that blanketed the brown grasses and trees. The cool air kept me inside looking out.  The forecast the next day was for more fog along with colder temperatures, and I kept my fingers crossed that Mother Nature would delight us with a glistening morning of Hoar Frost.  However, we were lacking the key ingredient to form Hoar Frost--moisture. When it's cold enough outside and the air is filled with water vapor then Hoar frost can form. It is more often found near unfrozen lakes and streams on a cold morning when temperatures are fluctuating.

Several years ago we awoke one morning at our home on Quivira to see the grasses, bushes, and evergreens covered in ice crystals, sparkling in a light fog.  I threw on a heavy robe, grabbed my camera and ran out to take photos.  Even the grasses collected the ice crystals and crunched under my feet, but my camera could not capture the glistening grasses.

The ice crystals reminded me of why the Inuit Indians in Alaska have over a hundred names for snow, for these crystals could have each been knitted in various patterns by nature fairies. 

The term "hoar" come from the Old English word "har" meaning "gray, venerable, old. Hoar frost is found in O.E. c1290 expressing the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man's beard."
Hoar frost etimology

I wish my photos could have spoken a 1,000 words, and since they didn't I thought perhaps the poets might describe it best:

"The Valentine Wreath" by James Montgomery

For thy locks of raven hue,
Flowers of hoar-frost pearly,
Crocus-cups of gold and blue,
Snow-drops drooping early,
With Mezereon sprigs combine
Rise, my love, my Valentine.

"Legend" by Stephen Vincent Benet

The trees were sugared like wedding-cake
With a bright hoar frost, with a very cold snow,
When we went begging for Jesus' sake,
Penniless children, years ago. 

Nature may have disappointed me this week by not encasing us in silvered crystals, but I have faith that we will someday see these angelic dainty crystals on our bushes. Staying alert to natures' changes offers such delights, nearly as much as a touch of love at Valentines. 

Frost Flowers are another surprise beauty of nature. This story was posted last year. 


  1. Happy Valentine’s Day, Letty! Enjoy this wonderful day. I enjoyed the wonderful poem!! mb

  2. Enjoyed your blog today and the poetry. jr