Snow Comes to the East Bay

snow at ConcordiaWell, sort of. Only in this article anyway.

How about this, though?

Twelve-and-a-half inches of snow in one day.

That’s how much of the white stuff covered the ground at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri this past March.

St. Louis folks hadn’t seen anything like it in 101 years.

Mr. Ray had the privilege of being underneath the skies in St. Louis at the time, wrapping up a year of graduate school at Concordia Seminary.

This is a picture from the St. Louis Dispatch,  taken in Concordia Park on March 25, 2103, the day after the record snowfall. This park is right next to what was once Mr. Ray’s dorm room. This is a path he’d walked many times to Kaldi’s Coffee just across from campus, his backpack usually weighted down with some hulking books on Greek or Hebrew!

Kind of looks like the lamppost in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, doesn’t it?

Interestingly enough, one of Mr. Ray’s favorite classes he took at seminary was on C.S. Lewis. On the very first day of our class, it also snowed. Right outside the windows of our room stood another lamppost, similar to the one here in the picture. A silent wonder kind of fell over everyone. Narnia had come to us.

The snow on March 24, however, was unbelievable. A quiet hush filled the campus and the park. The crisp frostiness in the air stirred the soul.

What’s even more amazing is the intricate nature of snowflakes themselves.

One of our stories in seventh-grade English we’ll be reading this week is about W.A. “Snowflake” Bentley, a humble, non-assuming gentleman (as well as an astute observer of nature) from Vermont who, in the late 1920s, photographed over 2,400 “snow crystals” through a very delicate and painstaking process.

The images he captured are nothing short of breathtaking.

msnowflakes These are snow crystals, folks, the building blocks of snowflakes.

Not drawings, not sketches, not doily cut-outs, not knitted lace, not jewelry in a velvet display case.

Snow crystals as Mr. Bentley captured them on film over eighty years ago.

Mr. Bentley said that in all his photographing of these remarkable specimens, he never once saw any two the same (someone actually did in 1988).

Now, with all that being said, it almost freezes the brain to consider how many of these it took to cover the greater metropolitan area of St. Louis this past March.

Twelve-and-a-half inches deep.

It staggers the imagination.

Just think how long it would take to try and reproduce just these twenty crystals by drawing them.

In their original, incredibly small scale.

Mind you, Mr. Bentley greatly magnified these crystals in his photography. Each of these intricate designs could easily fit on the head of a pin.

That wouldn’t even be enough snow to get your shoes wet.

God once asked Job, “From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?”

These intricate and miniature patterns of solid water display the incredibly creative and majestic power of our heavenly Father. As Paul tells us in Romans, God’s “invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Doesn’t snow much here in the Bay Area, granted. But next time you find yourself “crunching” through a winter wonderland, you probably don’t want to think too much about all the glorious patterns of snow and ice that will forever go unseen because of your footfalls!

Bentley flake

But do consider that if God puts this much care and detail into a snow crystals and snowflakes, how much more so has God designed you in stunningly intricate detail and how much care and attention He gives to you. You are of more value than many snowflakes!

As Christians we can learn from folks like Mr. Bentley. If we pay close attention to creation, to nature, we can find our heavenly Father’s “invisible attributes” which point us toward His Word and His love for us in His Son.

So if you are discouraged or perhaps wondering where God might be or it doesn’t seem like anyone cares, take a minute or two and open your Bible and read Psalm 139, then flip over to Matthew 6:25-34 and ponder these things in your heart (Luke 2:19).

May you encounter the kind of “hush” to your soul that mountains of snow bring to a busy city like St. Louis.