six

12 02 2005

i wish i’d taken this, but i didn’t. i haven’t yet managed to combine means & opportunity (i.e. have the camera with me when the perfect flakes–finished forming before they fall–which happens often here, but certainly not reliably every time–line up so photogenically along a sleeve). they really look just like this, though. really.

on my way to school yesterday, walking by our 2-doors-down 9-year-old neighbor jeshua to exchange our usual “have a good day at school!”s to one another, i stopped to catch a few in the wool of my mittens.

“jeshua. how many sides do snowflakes have?”

i hoped he’d know simply because he’s a kid, & i’m still determined to believe that everyone else did learn this in kindergarten too & just forgot. he didn’t, but he answered perfectly: he held out a hand to catch a few & squinted at them, trying, before saying a word.

“i can’t tell.”

“here, look,” i said, & stomped up his half-plowed walk to show him the good ones.
“it’s six. if they’re finished growing, it’s six every time.”

“cool!”

yeah. it is.

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3 responses

14 02 2005
cheshirrrecat

this is a perfect example of what i Love about you.
*Kiss*

18 02 2005
l_stboy

but _why_ is it 6 every time? Huh? why? 😉

19 02 2005
tyra

because that’s the shape of the molecules. duh. snowflakes are the best chemistry-into-physical-reality thing out there. rocks do it w/their fracture-patterns, but you have to smash them to see them, & there’s so much finesse invovled in swinging that hammer so that they crack instead of crush…
snowflakes just come down as if they’ve already been transformed by magic microscopes.
general chemistry, 3rd ed., chapter 11.2; chapter illustration:

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