ode to snowflakes

I’m trav­el­ling up north this week­end. I imag­ine there will be more snow than we have here in the city. Which remind­ed me that I made these shrink plas­tic snowflakes dur­ing Christ­mas hol­i­day, with tuto­r­i­al from The Long Thread.

I first tried using the tem­plate full-size. I was imag­in­ing a dime-sized pen­dant, but it turned out a lot big­ger than what I want­ed, as you can see with my hand there (I had to remind myself that shrink plas­tic may seem mag­i­cal but it’s not so mag­i­cal that the snowflake would shrink from 4 inch to 1/2 inch).

The first try did­n’t go very smooth­ly. A cou­ple of the arm­s broke off as I was cut­ting, and I only had clear shrink plas­tic rather than frost­ed shrink plas­tic, so I had to sand it. The sand­pa­per I used was grey, and I made the mis­take of sand­ing it after it was cut, so the grey sandy par­ti­cles got stuck all along the edges, leav­ing the snowflake with a film of grey…

But I still like it. It reminds me of snow in the city, on the road and side­walk, turn­ing all grey and slushy as the cars go by and peo­ple tread­ing through. I’m going to find a long chain to wear it around in the city :D

As for the small snowflake that I want­ed… Learn­ing the lessons from the first attempt, I shrunk the tem­plate by 50%, sand­ed the plas­tic before cut­ting it, and was extra, extra care­ful and slow when cut­ting the plas­tic. And final­ly I watched it curl and shrink in the hot oven… and sud­den­ly I have a snowflake the size of a dime :D

It’s exact­ly what I’ve pic­tured in my mind. And none of the arms broke off. I’m quite hap­py with it.

If I could write poems, I would write an ode to snowflakes. They are breath­tak­ing­ly intri­cate and beau­ti­ful and each is per­fect in its own way, yet they’re here one moment and melt­ed to a mere drop of water the next. I’m sure that it’s a detail pur­pose­ful­ly made and woven into our every­day life to intrigue and inspire us.

But I don’t real­ly write poems. The best I can do is some fee­ble attempts at haiku (although I quite enjoy it :D). But I do enjoy read­ing poems very much. And I’m hap­py that my sis­ter-in-law, who is a very tal­ent­ed writer, has start­ed a new poet­ry and writ­ing blog, so now I have a con­stant sup­ply of poems to read :D

So, trav­el­ling, snowflakes, and poet­ry. I thought I would sum it all up with this poem I read on Lil Fish Stu­dio. I was very moved by it when I read it, because recent­ly I’ve found myself in the same place, trav­el­ling along and then com­ing upon a forked road, try­ing to make the best deci­sion, try­ing to find the best way to use all the gifts I have been giv­en, and feel­ing rather help­less wal­low­ing in my own indecisiveness.

Two roads diverged in a yel­low wood,
And sor­ry I could not trav­el both
And be one trav­el­er, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the oth­er, as just as fair,
And hav­ing per­haps the bet­ter claim,
Because it was grassy and want­ed wear;
Though as for that the pass­ing there
Had worn them real­ly about the same.
And both that morn­ing equal­ly lay
In leaves no step had trod­den black.
Oh, I kept the first for anoth­er day!
Yet know­ing how way leads on to way,
I doubt­ed if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Some­where ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less trav­eled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost, 1915


(The poem itself has noth­ing to do with snowflakes, but note the author’s name!)

So, see you in a few days! I’m bring­ing Zumi with me to the north and hope to bring back some nice pho­tos. Thank you for vis­it­ing and have a won­der­ful weekend!