Overnight, frost sketches strange forms on the windowpanes--long dendritic tendrils, ferns, floral bursts. These aren't technically "frost flowers"--those are three-dimensional ice sculptures that form over weeds or reeds at a lake's edge. Still, these etchings do flower here in the sudden cold overnight, racing up the window, crowding out the view. Rare now, in this time of energy efficient triple glazed argon filled panes, they appear magical, otherworldly, effortless art.
We are staying in a winterized but not thoroughly insulated cottage near Lac Pierre, just outside of St. Alphonse de Rodriguez in Quebec. It is warm--particularly near the wood stove--and we are cooking quite a lot, roasting game birds, making soup, roasting vegetables, so the air in the cottage is steamy. Outside, on the day I took the photos, it was bitterly cold. It is, at once, both the contact and the contrast between these two extremes--warm damp interior and cold dry exterior--that enable such frost patterns to grow up the insides of our windows. Warm damp air condenses on the interior of the window and freezes, forming frost crystals; each construction is, as the temperatures modulate, a sketch in progress.
The photographs were taken from the inside, looking out at snow-covered cedars and the snowy yard.