As a small child, I was awstruck when intricate frost designs festooned my bedroom windows on cold winter mornings. In those days before double-pane windows, fleeting and unique natural artworks were part of every kid’s winter experience.
The extravagant designs reminded me of the frost fairies in the Disney film "Fantasia." I imagined them skating across the windowpanes as I slept, creating exquisite artworks just for me to discover when I awoke. That was infinitely more fun than the scientific explanation of water vapor crystallizing on super-cold glass. Sometimes knowledge is a beggarly substitute for fantasy.
I suppose nothing good comes without a price. I love the snug, well-insulated home where I live today. I’m glad not to be losing millions of BTUs of expensive energy through single-pane windows. But I miss the indescribable beauty of my childhood.
I was thrilled when my son, David, sent me this photo of frost patterns he discovered on his windows recently. His house is cold and drafty, but the money he spends heating the place is not wasted. It buys him something I no longer have-–incontrovertible evidence of frost fairies.