Snowflakes

Patricia - Rochelle, Illinois
Entered on October 17, 2007

I believe in everyday miracles—the little things that most people take for granted that are really some of the most beautiful and make life worth living.

One Christmas a few years ago, a professor I worked for gave me a book about Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley. I sat in amazement as she explained to me who he was and how his boyhood interest in snowflakes became his life’s work. Bentley was able to develop a process to examine and photograph snowflakes in intricate detail. Looking at some of those photographs, I was in awe of the beauty and delicacy of every one, like lace doilies, and each was more beautiful than the last. Through Bentley’s passion and dedication to his work it is possible to see something ordinary transformed into the extraordinary.

Likewise, I believe that if we slow down and pay attention to the people and things around us, we will see the intricate beauty beyond the surface. I can see the miracle in a sunny day when the sky is deep blue, the clouds are like huge tufts of cotton, and you can visibly see the rays of sunshine gleaming down from above—it always gives me such a warm and hopeful feeling. I treasure the bead and sequin jewelry, the unidentifiable sculptures, and crayon masterpieces my children created for me when they were young—I always smile when I look at them. I admire the wondrous combination of fall colors in the leaves of the trees as I drive down the road—they really give me a sense of appreciation for the beauty in nature. I have always felt renewed by the first day of school because it signaled a new beginning to me—starting over again with a new notebook—the proverbial clean slate.

I believe that small things like a smile can change the world and a hug can heal many of life’s hurts; that deep down most people are good and are willing to help you if you ask them.

Bentley’s snowflakes remind me of the ephemeral quality of life. Most of the time I get so caught up in the fast pace of work, school, and other activities that I forget to slow down and really look around me at the little things that are the most important. I believe that we all should take the time to examine the “snowflakes” in our life before the season passes.