Sunday, January 3, 2010


Running with Sadie today was a candied treat. The feral field, normally an expanse of weed to be ignored, was spectacular! Hoarfrost had gilded the most innocuous, despicable undesirables with incredible jewelry. Couldn't believe what I saw close up: tawny stems, non-descript bracts, so-so desiccated blooms were all transformed! Frost King had arrived. All had been graced with his royal presence.

I was stunned, shocked even, by the ferocity of his crystals. Stabbing sharply into the blued sky, these spicules could have drawn deep blood. Jab, jab, jab, from plant to azure dome, icey spiked threats. Yet, when I touched the dire spears, they melted into my warm fingertips. They disappeared. Frost's threat was just a bluff.

Later I learned that hoarfrost's arrows form on clear nights when objects cloaked with water vapor are colder than surrounding air. It's a surface thing. It's also magical. Hard to describe. Pictures are surreal. Spikes that jagged just don't exist, especially in such an ephemeral form. In moments, they'll be gone.

I think about how many times Sadie and I have trekked past these plants, dismissing them as low-lifes, not worthy of even a glance. And yet today they screeched for attention: they were red carpet starlets, fabulous! I was amazed at the structural rhapsody of these weeds. Why hadn't I noticed that before? Where was I?

I remember my late husband joking as we strolled along the Snake River. He'd say, "Ah, an old growth grove of kosha," a weed we both abhorred. I cringed at the connection of the sacred phrase "old grove" with a term as disdainful as "kosha." Today I was puzzled again that I could revere such the foliage before me, this "trash" flora, dressed up in its iced wardrobe. Normally I scorn. Today I supplicate. What gives?

Maybe it's the oddity. Maybe it's the white. Maybe it's the ephemeral. Maybe, who knows, it's magic, the enchanting touch of the Frost King, granting the mundane with a precious glow. Who can say?