Hoar Frost Fascination
With a shift in temperatures from above freezing to slightly below freezing and with the right amount of moisture or humidity in the air, I woke up to a fairy tale world, one in which fingers of frost had draped trees, bushes and weeds. I am always entranced by hoar frost and almost always stop to take photos of this phenomenon when it occurs.
It is as if old man winter has come out with his white beard to tell me that winter has truly arrived and that it is time for a deep sleep with deep dreams. I am then taken to another image, that of Father Christmas with his beard of white. This fairy tale world invites gods and goddesses to make their appearance. And with their appearance, we find ourselves beholding them with both awe and fear. Father Christmas is older than Christianity’s Saint Nicholas. He finds his roots in the pagan god Woden/Odin.
The frost also brings to my mind a trickster image, that of Jack Frost. As a trickster, he promises the graceful, fragile and delicate world while in truth he is using his arts to cover his darker intent of plunging the earth into a deep freeze of winter darkness. It is as though the hoar frost serves to invite us to enter into a form of death, to descend into the underworld.
The associations continue to build for me as I think of the invitation of an apple that lured Snow White into a deep sleep that could only be awakened by the promise of love, the promise of life. The story of being frozen in time and place again finds its way into our mythology with the story of the Snow Queen. In all of the associations, one thing emerges, that of rebirth, re-emerging into the world of sun, warmth and life.
With all of these stories in mind, I remain fascinated with hoar frost and wonder what winter has in store for me and the rest of the world.