Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sometimes, when the air is frozen but the ground is not, the sap inside of a plant will swell and burst open, making cracks and holes all along the stem. The plant can't stop drinking from the ground, though, and so it continues to pull water all along its capillaries, water that freezes once it meets the air and then gets pushed out further by new water coming forward and freezing. If you're a regular plant this gives you flowers made of frost, and if you're a tree it gives you a long soft beard. In either case these frost formations are so delicate that, if they make it past dawn, they crumble at the touch.

It turns out that these flowers blossom similarly on young ice, in places where the air is colder than the water. On the sea the ice manages to draw into itself large concentrations of salt, which seems like it would make anything living inside the flowers impossible. Except that as usual life finds a way, and if you collect a flower and bring it inside you'd find that each blossom holds a million tiny creatures, doing no one knows what. Building little bacteria societies, maybe, in flowers made of ice like a fairytale. Writing little bacteria laws, having little bacteria parties, and disappearing back into the water. Or to wherever it is frost flowers go when their air gets warm.

No comments: