It was last Thursday, February 11. I was typing on my laptop, finishing up some devotionals I'd committed to write for Devotional Christian website. I was struggling with some issues that I felt upside-down, and inside-out about. As I wrote I felt rather heavy-hearted. I prayed about it. I considered whether decisions I was making were the right ones to make in light of circumstances in my life. It was one of those do-I, or don't-I moments. The house seemed so still. I had muted Fox morning news. The blinds were still closed. I took a sip of my first cup of coffee and realized I had been so engrossed in writing that my coffee was ice cold. Ick. I got up to get a refill. On my way back from the kitchen, I stopped to open my dining-room blinds to my patio doors. Snow! I nearly spit my warm coffee back into my mug. I didn't think we were suppose to get snow! I saw that a thick blanket covered our backyard. My hammock looked like a lovely white down-stuffed comforter. If you know me, and some of you do, I had to get a picture! I stuck my feet into some slip-on shoes, grabbed my camera, and trekked out the sliding doors onto the patio porch.
I snapped pictures of my hammock from the porch, but knew I'd have to walk out to it to get a closeup. The blanket of snow was so pretty; I hated to disturb it. I felt like I was walking on a freshly made bed. But I knew to get a close-up of my hammock, I had to crush the fluff. Bitter cold bit my fingertips as I tried to focus the camera. That's when I noticed the hard crystal flakes on my blue shirt. I could have missed them, I might not have noticed, if not for a friend's email in Ponca City a few weeks ago. Her son had photographed absolutely perfectly formed crystal flakes, with incredible designs. His pictures captured an extremely rare snowflake. Temperatures must be a certain degree at a certain height in the atmosphere to form these unusual flakes and have them make it to earth in their pristine, individual perfection. They are the size of a pencil eraser and smaller, yet their prongs and spikes are amazingly intricate. They are the kind that cluster with approximately three hundred others to form the normal snowflake that falls to the earth. Flakes without distinction. Flakes we get excited about when they fall at all in Oklahoma. The kind of snowflake hitting my shirt? The rare perfectly formed, single, multi-pronged spiked crystals.
I so wish my camera was able to capture what I saw. It was amazing to see the crystalized beauty of these tiny prisms of ice. Did you see them? They didn't last long. Did you look at them long enough to notice their perfection as they quickly melted? I could barely believe my eyes. I knew I was witnessing a rare moment in God's creative splendor. I knew because of my friend from Ponca City who explained how rare those flakes are. I tried to take pictures, but my camera showed them as a tiny blur of white on my shirt. No one could possibly see what I saw from pictures I took. Kenneth G. Libbrecht took pictures of these perfections for the United States postage stamp in 2006. And what we all probably considered to be simply a design drawn on a piece of paper were literal actual snowflakes that he photographed in Alaska. It is one thing to see them in a picture, but rare, indeed, to see them in southeastern Lawton, Oklahoma.
While most flakes fall like clumps of white shavings all stuck together, without any specific form, these were separate crystals visible to the human eye, if one took time to notice. I dare say there are thousands of people in Lawton on Thursday who walked to their cars, to their office doors, to their mailboxes, to the curbs with their trash, to the doorways of stores, and never saw what I saw as the tiny flakes dampened their shoulders, danced on their windshields and left imprints on their glasses. They were so tiny that they could easily be overlooked. On any other day, at any other time, I might also have missed their miraculous existence, too. I'm so glad I didn't.
I returned to writing my devotionals with a new-found spirit of joy and calm. One of the questions looming in my mind had been answered. The confusion I'd been feeling earlier was gone. It's almost like those tiny perfectly formed snowflakes were meant just for me. Like tiny iced letters writing messages on my heart. And maybe, they were. Did you see them?