A story about Bob T Snowflake

2008-05-22 05:14:44.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

Bob et al

As I walk around the deck this May night watching the snow slowly falling on the summit, it got me thinking about at quote from college Biology: “Water is life.” But my mind started to wander like it does at night and as I thought about it deeper, I came to the conclusion that water may bring about life but snow mimics life. I will convey this (hopefully) in the following story:

This story starts from the beginning as most stories do. Not THE beginning but A beginning none the less. Thousands of feet above Earth Mrs. warm air mass and Mr. cold air mass meet and the creation of life is sparked. A suspended particle is swarmed by water vapor and a droplet begins to form in the belly of the new cloud. The temperature and the water vapor content in the clouds environment begin to mold and shape the snowflake into a more recognizable shape. Six sides branch out as the droplet becomes a full fledge flake. He will not be a single flake as thousands, if not millions of brothers and sisters are forming concurrently around him. But the time has come for our friend to leave the cloud and enter the real world and so starts the story of Bob The Snowflake (or Bob T. Snowflake).

Bob begins to float and dance with the other flakes around him. They are all young and new to life as they frolic about. Sometimes they bump and bruise on their journey but they don’t break or cease being but instead take the interactions shaping them and modeling their identity as they grow older. Darkness surrounds them keeping them blind and naive to the world that is to come. But a dim light now shows below as the end of adolescence draws near and path to adulthood starts to become visible.

As Bob gently approaches the ground, he passes by the lit object making out the words “LL Bean” and “MWObs” on a giant, red and misshapen snowflake. “What an oddly shaped and colored snowflake,” Bob thinks, “but who am I to judge.” And then the hard surface marking the entry of adulthood smacks him as he lands on the deck next to the rest of the snowflakes. From here on out the winds of fate would guide him through the rest of his life.

Bob slides along the ground, first slowly as he tries to find his path in a crowded world of other flakes just like him. Sometimes, he is pushed and pressured to join groups of snow flakes generating a heap of flakes with similar interests. He climbs hills and falls down those same hills. He looks over ledges and jumps into crevasses head first for the thrill. He weaves and bops to the tune of rushing winds. Occasionally he gets bumps and bruises but at his core he is the same flake he has always been, just older or wiser. Eventually, he has explored all that he could and decides now is the time to choose his path for retirement.

On one hand, he could stay in the snow fields of Tuckerman Ravine or other seasonal snow fields and live out his life it a tightly confined space. Or he could head south to the warmer climates. Either way, time marches on and Bob meets his maker fading away from old age as he fades back into the fabric of life. And this story ends much like it began. It is AN end, not THE end. And that is the story of a flake named Bob and his way through this month of May.

Editors note: I was vague on the start and finish due to opening more analogies that delve deeper. I figure you, the reader, can add these based on your own ideas and beliefs.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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