A winter storm blew through the Plains for the past couple of days, bringing honest to goodness winter right before the solstice. Usually our snow blows to Kansas; this time there was too much to make the trip so it got left here. Not that the wind was going to leave it without playing around a bit.
It amazes me how something seemingly as fragile and light as snow can work its way into such solid and magical shapes. Resisting the wind in places while flowing with it in others, snow shapes cornices, waves, bluffs, valleys – a million years of erosion effects created in a single night.
Like chaos theory it seems impossible to predict what shapes will emerge. Sometimes the snow curves around an obstacle; for others it buries it completely. Even earlier snow is a source of shaping. Footprints compress earlier snow to ice, and then are revealed by the action of wind and sun, miniature mesas on a plain of concrete.
Tired of the seemingly eternal vistas of the Grand Canyon? Watch snow forming micro-versions of the same structures. Wait for the wind to sculpt and re-sculpt – you’ll eventually see something you like. But it will be gone, not in millions of years, but overnight.