Tuesday, December 8, 2015

String, and Variations of: Icy Phenomena in the Neighborhood

December 2015 string phenomenon
"You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity. Let out little more string on your kite." --Alan Cohen

Okay, another mystery to be solved. Has anyone else seen this phenomenon?

Hubby looked out the front window the other day only to see a small tree in our front yard apparently decorated for Christmas, though it isn't an evergreen. It was draped with what looked like thin, wispy garlands. Upon closer examination, he saw loops of frosted, icy strings. Needle-thin icicles hung on some of the other branches. What, had someone come along in the night to play a trick on us? Maybe a little fairy spun her magic under cover of darkness. Did someone try to fly a kite and got their string tangled, reminiscent of Charlie Brown?

We marveled and we questioned and we wondered.

We conjectured. Maybe the strings resulted from a brave spider attempting to spin a web on a cold morning. But then again, maybe not. For if that were the case, wouldn't we find a design more like this?
icy spider web: google images
Nor were the strings 'hair ice'.  (What? I didn't know such a thing existed until I tried to solve my mystery!) I learned about hair ice when I came across this article: Here's How a Strange Phenomenon Called 'Hair Ice' Forms on Dead Trees, The White Ice Filaments Look A Lot Like Cotton Candy.

hair ice: google images
Nor are they frost flowers, something else I'm learning about...

frost flower: google images

... nor hoar frost... 
hoar frost: google images

...or rime ice
rime ice: google images
Did you know there were so many variations--and names--of ice creations? I sure didn't, and I still don't understand much about what makes them different. But isn't the subject intriguing?

Want to see more? Check out these sites:

The phenomenon found in our yard was certainly not as dramatic as any of the above. Simple strings and threads don't catch the eye with as much beauty and wonder. But still, look what happened. The discovery prompted exploration into a new subject and led to some delightful photos and wondrous images.

What is the name of my local phenomenon? I'll probably never know for certainty. But think of it: ice strings, kite strings, stringing words together--don't they all have something in common? Discovery and delight in the journey. Exploration of the unusual. A reminder to keep your eyes open and notice details. A prompt to let out a little more string on your kite!

Any discoveries you've come across lately that have helped you do this? 


  1. I had no idea there were so many types of ice formations. I've seen ice strings a few times, thinking they were frozen spider webs or cobwebs. I agree, there are so many wonders of God's creation we can discover and delight in. :)

    1. Karen, it's been a learning experience for me for sure. All because of seeing something new :-) Yes, God's creation continues to surprise us!

  2. Very cool ice phenomena! My husband always likens it to a painter having turned the world into his masterpiece. We had something like what you're describing a few days ago, what looked to me like a fog that was really more frost than water vapor. And, yes, it was amazingly beautiful!

    1. Peggy, the analogy to a painter and world as his masterpiece is so true, I like that :-) And if the fog you're talking about is what we had to drive in the other night--which was pretty thick on I-75--it is beautiful but nothing to drive in!! Good to hear from you. Have a great rest of the week :-)