Snow ghosts bow to Jack Frost

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, January 9, 2020

Small snow-covered fir trees appeared to Robyn MacKay as “snow ghosts,” bowing here in this colourized collage to golden frost on columnist’s driver-side car window.
Photos (sides) by Robyn MacKay and
(centre) by Warren Harbeck

Winter is that time of year when Mother Nature brings out her looking glass and gives us a special glimpse into her magical kingdom, full of beautiful surprises in unexpected places. Take, for example, two such moments one of our coffee companions and I had recently.

On a recent sub-zero morning I went out to the curb and what did I see but my frost-covered car glaring at me! I grumbled as usual at the scraping that awaited, climbed in, started the engine, grabbed the scraper, and was about to open the door and begin the deed.

But then I took a second look at the frost on the window at my left and grumbled anew. No, this time not because I was too lazy to scrape it off, but because I was so distressed at having to scrape off such amazingly beautiful art! I took my iPhone from my shirt pocket and got a close-up photo.

Later that day while processing the image I decided to colourize it in gold without altering any of its intricate lines.

I shared the golden frost photo with globe-trekking artist Robyn MacKay, who just happened to be in Golden, BC, at the time.

“We’re out in Golden these days enjoying the heavy snowfall and the magic it brings along with it,” she responded enthusiastically. “The weather network spins such a negative feeling reporting the ‘storm porn’ and I wanted to share with you my view of the white wonders of Mother Nature. You will appreciate the artistic brush she has painted with. Attached are a few of my photos of ‘snow ghosts’ from my photo-ski tour.

“The winter wonders this year make me feel as if I’m skiing through a children’s book. Every time I head out, it’s like going through the wardrobe door and entering C. S. Lewis’s fantasy land in The Chronicles of Narnia. The beauty and mystery of every corner brings a surprise that keeps tugging me onward down the path.”

What she referred to in her photos as “snow ghosts” were actually small snow-shrouded fir trees, but they had a most intriguing posture, which I couldn’t resist exploiting in a collage to accompany this column.

I positioned two of her photos to the right and left of my frost photo so they appeared to be bowing to the frost’s golden beauty, and sent the collage to Robyn. Yes, I thought to myself, even snow ghosts respect frosty filigrees.

She responded, “Oh Warren, don’t you think looking at those photos reminds you also of Lewis Carol’s Through the Looking Glass?”

Of course, Carol’s magical looking-glass! What delightful surprises are longing to embrace us when seen through the eyes of our heart, captured through the lens of our camera, and processed through the software of our imagination – if only we give them half a chance!

Thank you, Mother Nature, for this magical looking-glass moment.


© 2020 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page