Frost: Nature’s Flocking

At daybreak this morning the temperature is nine degrees Fahrenheit.

Fog – common most mornings from autumn through spring – drapes the pastures on the valley floor, hiding roads, homes, trees, fences, and cattle under a fluffy light gray blanket.

Fog lingering on the valley floor.

Some days I watch the fog creep slowly up the valley slope toward my house like a living, breathing being, expanding and devouring everything in its path before slowly returning to the valley bottom like a ghostly octopus retreating under its rock. This morning, though, it’s appetite is less voracious and the fog stays in the valley, disappearing quickly.

The rising sun breaks over the ridges to the east to illuminate the snow-covered slopes of the peaks to the west, giving them a warm pink glow just as the valley fog dissipates. That’s our cue to begin our morning.

sunlit mountains, snow
Early sun highlighting the western peaks.

The dogs are eager to go out and explore. I bundle up and load the dogs in the car for a walk in the valley just as the sun rises high enough to bathe it in a bright light that makes the snow sparkle and shimmer.

We don’t get far before I take my first photo. In fact, the car’s still in the garage. The sun poking through trees onto my driveway makes it shimmer with sparkling lights like tiny diamonds, catching my eye. I’m drawn to a set of fox prints, a stealthy visitor last night.

fox tracks in snow

I drive a couple miles to our usual parking spot next to a pasture gate on the side of a country road. It’s Sunday, the last day of Thanksgiving weekend, and very quiet. We begin walking. Well, I walk. The boys are dashing through the snow-covered ditch, searching for voles among the grasses and weeds.

dogs, pasture, snow
Dogs on their mission, fog obscuring the peaks to the northeast.

I quickly realize that the fog has left an amazing gift: frost. Thick frost.

All set against a brilliant blue sky.

frosty tree
Nature’s natural tree flocking.

I struggle to keep my hands warm as I take photos, so many photos.

frosty cattails
The cattails hoarded the most frost.
frosty tree, fence, mountain
Even the telephone wires are covered in frost, warming quickly in the sun and dropping tiny flakes that float gently to the ground.
sun through fog, cattails
Wisps of rising fog shroud the sun.
grass fronds with frost
The frost is so thick and heavy the grass fronds bend toward the ground.
fence covered in frost
No fan of barbed wire, I admit it’s pretty when covered in frost.

After our walk, we make the weekly trip to the transfer station. On the way back home, I keep hitting the brakes, alarming the boys. So many beautiful scenes need capturing! There isn’t much snow on the ground yet, so the pristine white of the frost on trees beautifies the landscape, all the more striking against the sky’s deep blue background.

old house, frosty trees
Derelict ranch house enveloped by frost-covered tree.
frosty trees
Frosted trees.
frosted trees, pond
More frosted trees and an ice-covered pond. And that sky!
frosty grass, old barn
Grass fronds bowing with the weight of the frost, an old metal-roofed barn sporting its own unique frost pattern.

10 thoughts on “Frost: Nature’s Flocking”

  1. Freezing fog is the most wonderful thing. A miracle. Enchantment. I never experienced it until I moved here. It’s not a phenomenon on the front range in Colorado, but it’s a feature of this valley, and yours, too. Bear and I are getting a lot of vicarious pleasure (me more than Bear) from you photos. Thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonder surrounds us, if we just allow ourselves to be aware.

    My son once asked me if I could be any animal what would I be? I said coyote, because they can live anywhere. This comes to mind as I think about your dogs, living through the heat of summer and into the cold winter. They do not seem to care, just happy to be here.

    Liked by 1 person

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