It sparkles and shimmers in the sunlight. The sun provides little warmth during the dead of Alaska winter, but it’s golden light is still beautiful. Combine it with the rime ice frozen to the trees however, and that’s where the magic occurs. The world is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. One would have to have a frozen heart to not smile at the beauty. But these dainty sparkling pieces of ice are not formed in a beautiful manner.
How Rime Ice is Formed
Rime ice, which is often confused with hoarfrost, is “the by-product of freezing fog.” Here in Alaska, it’s almost a guarantee when we have fog during our freezing winters. At first it is not pretty. The fog is dense. It’s hard to see, and the lack of visibility alone causes issues for drivers. But then you add in the fact that this dense fog is depositing “condensed water droplets that freeze onto surfaces.” Notice it doesn’t specify which type of surfaces. It simply says “surfaces.” This means it is freezing to the roads, your car, your houses, the trees, the ground, everything. The roads can become a sheet of ice, wreaking havoc on commutes and causing drivers to unexpectedly slide off the road. While it is possible to safely drive in it, it can at times be treacherous. And it is almost always an intense period of life working your way through that freezing fog.
But in following this thick, unyielding fog, the magic is soon evident. As the fog moves through the area, the rime ice is left in its wake. Walk out the door, and you’ll find the most beautiful and intricate ice coating everything. Every single little display a perfect showpiece in and of itself, but combined – a gorgeous masterpiece. This ice is a sight to behold all by itself, but then add the sun. The sun allows the rime ice to sparkle and shimmer, enhancing each display. To say it is a winter wonderland is an understatement. It’s magnificent, and it’s worth coming to Alaska during the winter if only for this show.
A Picture of Our Lives
An additional coolness factor to the rime ice is that it can be a representation of our lives. Because life can be that way too. Frustrating. Scary. It can leave us sliding off the path of life that we thought was going to be a good road. It can be treacherous, and even horrible. But then the fog lifts. And the refinement and lessons learned through those experiences we did not want to experience begin to sparkle. All of those events that we cried ourselves to sleep over, they left behind little masterpieces in our lives. And as the sun begins to rise and the world begins to feel warm, those masterpieces begin to sparkle and represent strength, grace, and wisdom. Life isn’t easy. But when we look around expecting to see good, we can see the gifts and sparkles left from every experience.
So next time you experience the beauty of rime ice, I hope you smile over the individual masterpieces left behind that make up the magnificent winter wonderland show. But in those moments, I also hope you can smile as you think about how that rime ice can represent your life experiences, and I hope it encourages you to keep going, no matter what hardships may come into your life.