11 pm. The last of the lake effect snow bands passed a few hours ago. Since then the sky has cleared. A full moon hangs overhead, and the stars shine clearly, as they only can on a cold winter night.
I don’t know where they come from, but every now and then a snow crystal tumbles out of the sky. The crystals that are falling now are large – some are over ½ inch in diameter – and they spin and tumble as they fall through the sky. Stand with a plate of glass, watching for falling crystals. When I spot one falling I run over to it and try to catch it in on the glass plate. It’s sort of like playing ping pond with a glass paddle and a ball the size of pea.
Every now and then I’m successful, and take the captive snow crystal into the garage to get a shot of it. The crystals falling out of this clear sky are big, complex, symmetrical and rich. The way that they spin and tumble in the air as they fall to earth is almost as fascinating as their structure.
Ultimately, around midnight, with the temperatures dropping into the teens, I call it quits. The clear sky has stopped sharing, but I’ll be back for the next round…