Tuesday, February 21, 2017

EPHEMERAL ETCHING - The Joyous Geometry of Ice

Sunday morning I found this lovely sheet of etched ice on the driveway just outside our back door. That unseasonably warm winter day, water already flowed under it, and by ten it was gone.

Both the impermanence and the impact of this art stun me…make me wonder. Why do the major vertices radiate from an imaginary point on the adjacent asphalt, while others are scored as fields of parallels?

Why are some lines fringed with still-finer, feathery details? Why is just that one gap clear of all but the ghostliest whisper of texture?

And the geometry…I suppose it’s no wonder that the four main axes fan at 15 degrees, while those hatched parallels stem from them at 30—both exact divisors of the 60-degrees between branches of a snowflake.


jean said...

I have always loved these sorts of ice ferns that we used to get on our windows when they were not as well- insulated as they are now. Mom told me that Jack Frost had visited during the night! Mysterious and beautiful!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Yes, Jean, the kind of frost that appears on windows can be really fine and detailed. Often it takes pretty flowery, organic shapes, unlike this pattern I found on the ground, which is so geometrical. Nature is awesome!

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