Thursday, February 06, 2014


I have just finished re-reading Madeline L'Engle's book A Wind In The Door.
It is the sequel to her Newbery award winning book A Wrinkle In Time.

Have you read either of the books?
She was a Christian and her semi-science fiction genre books included a lot of Scripture and theology.
Pretty amazing how deep she went, especially since the books were written for children.

In Wind in the Door, her main character Meg is teamed with a cherub in a battle against a Shadowing/Evil that is impacting the physical life of her six year old brother Charles. 

Meg and the cherub Proginoskes are tasked with naming.
Early in the book Proginoskes shares that at one time he was tasked with naming all the stars in all the galaxies.
Meg asks why that would be a needful thing to do.

He replied:
"If he calls for one of them, someone has to know which one he means. Anyhow, they like it; there aren't many who know them all by name, and if your name isn't known, then it's a very lonely feeling.

Later he added:
"When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be."
Isn't that profound?
By being named, known by a name we become more particularly what we are supposed to be.
Given names
Each make us more ourselves don't they?

Later still there was a discussion about evil.
"I think your mythology would call them fallen angels. War and hate are their business, and one of their chief weapons is un-Naming--making people not know who they are."

How does one get named?
That's what makes persons know who they are.
An old proverb said:
A  much loved child has many names.
Oh how true that is!

Naming a leaf, a galaxy, a blood cell, a sparrow, a hair or a snowflake...
He calls all of His Creation by name.

That idea astonishes me.
Not only does God create each snowflake, each leaf, each person,
He calls them by name.
Size does not matter.
Where does not matter.
He can hold both the universe and the DNA of a single cell in His hands.
He named Day, Night, Sun, Moon, Man, Woman.

A poem in the book concludes:
I fill you with Naming.
Be, butterfly and behemoth,
be galaxy and grasshopper
star and sparrow,
you matter,
you are,
Be, caterpillar and comet,
be porcupine and planet,
sea sand and solar system,
sing with us,
dance with us,
rejoice with us,
for the glory of creation,
sea gulls and seraphim,
angle worms and angel host,
chrysanthemum and cherubim
(O cherubim)
Sing for the glory
for the living and the loving
the flaming of creation
sing with us
dance with us
be with us

I photographed these snowflakes using a regular (non-LED) flashlight, shining the light through a sheet of ice that was shattering atop a glass table top.
The ice was not totally clear; as I worked at taking photos I fretted about that fact.

Only after I saw the photos on my computer did I realize what the uniqueness of the ice brought to the photo.

The snowflake photos were not crystal clear.

There were scratches and lines.
The flakes seemed like they were being viewed through embryotic fluid.
Found and lit in a secret snowflake nurturing womb.

What name has been given to this one?
Even though the flakes are mysterious and unclear,  I find as I look, I begin to love each one.

Both A Wrinkle in Time and Wind in the Door also featured a heroic character named Calvin.
That's a name you don't hear much anymore.
Funny how after re-reading the books I found myself loving the rarely heard name...a lot.
And I have found myself loving the name of our grandson Calvin; loving seeing him in this scratchy unclear photo as well.

He too has been named; he too is loved.
Calvin Bruce is his name.
Bruce after his maternal grandfather, and also his uncle's middle name.
Calvin...just a name that Jeff liked.
A good strong man's name.
His being was announced to us last October.
This total surprise text message photo was sent to us while we were in San Diego visiting our parents.
I yelped when I saw it...and had the pleasure of showing the message to Bernie.
Luke is seated between his father's two childhood Cabbage Patch dolls.
Jeff re-received his Cabbage Patch "sons" at Luke's baby shower.
A cosmic cryptic thing that Jeff had two Cabbage Patch brothers to love as a child?
(And isn't it weird how much Luke looks like one of the dolls right now?)
The great grandparents heard the news in person at Thanksgiving.
We celebrated the new family size on the beach.
And now everyone in that circle is being called by name.
Sing for the glory
for the living and the loving
the flaming of creation
sing with us
dance with us
be with us

Be with us, dance with us too
We call you by name now:

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Snowflake time...again

Since I have observed that snow flake formation varies with air temperature and wind, I have learned to treasure a snowfall that produces elegant flake shapes.
If you were to see me checking and checking the flakes from the first flurry you would think I was mad.
When a highly detailed flake falls and the temperatures are low enough that the flake doesn't melt,
I gather my camera, tripod, flashlight, fingerless gloves, warm boots, snow suit, glass table topper, chair and race outside to experiment with snowflake photography.
For instance:
The flake above was photographed on glass and I shone a LED flashlight diffused with a white plastic at above and to the side of the flake.
The flake photo shows the flake's shadow; the flake's dimension is evident.

Here's the same flake lit from below, under the glass, with the same flashlight.

The same flake, photographed using just natural light.

I confess that I get pretty excited when a lovely single flake lands without shattering and unattached to other flakes.
I had acquired a book about snowflake identification and was blown away by the clear photographs of the snowflakes.  Then I read an article wherein a Russian snowflake photographer Alexey Kijatov shared his snowflake photography tips.
He has lots of quite complicated instructions to use in snowflake photography; it was his suggestion to light the flakes from beneath glass using a LED flashlight that I had been waiting for months to try.
Using a LED flashlight really worked!
(That's bit of broken ice sheeting below that flake.)

The shots from below show great details but they do seem flat, like a line drawing.

Lit from the side: a bit less detail but a better sense that this is an actual flake.
I love how the condensation and streaks from wiping the glass adds texture to the photo too.
I still don't know why the lighting goes purple from that angle though.
Same flashlight from above or to the side.

I also don't know why the natural light read as red in the photo.
The glass was resting on a patio side table legs; below the glass was black.

I also do not know why some flakes appear white while others appear clear.

(or why Picasa sometimes adds snowflakes to a photo...)

Using burst shooting I captured the subtle change as the flake melted just slightly.
This was a second shot; look at the center.

Compared to the shot before that showed the indentation in the center.
Wild what a quarter of a second can do.

Usually the flakes clump up.
This clump was fun because of the star fish shape attached to the twin flakes.

The small black bubbles are water molecules that had attached to the crystal shape in the air.

The slight out of focus could have occurred because the snowflake didn't land completely flat, or I had pressed the camera slightly out of a perfect parallel to the glass. 
I learned to pay attention to the leveling bubbles on the side of my tripod.
If a bubble was just slightly out of the middle, part of the flake would be out of focus.

I thought the diamond shape in the center of this flake was unusual.

I wasn't checking to see if my shots were successful or not as I was working and only tried a side lit shot a few times.  Next good snowfall I want to work on that method as I think they are especially sparkly.

The flake as seen on the edge of the glass table top.
It was a pretty good sized flake.
Same flake up close.

Lit from below.

Lit from the side.

Another flake, lit from below.

And lit with natural light.

And a barely lit from below snowflake pile.
This coming week is to have several heavy snowfalls.
While lots of people back east have just had it with snowfall, I am delighted.
Fall leaves, winter snow flakes and spring flowers.