cutting and filming swirling snowflakes

by rebecca on December 1, 2010

Post image for cutting and filming swirling snowflakes

          Reading with my children is a place I find my church. It’s where my skin becomes soft and my soul is transported. The Island of Yummy became established as an institution when my babies were young. With one in each arm, and a book open between us, I could always find that fountain of Love. Today I take a look at two books. The first is Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian. The second is an activity book called Rocky Mountain Snowflakes, by Debra Bonzek.


          Snow is swirling once again. Fall is a fading memory. There is permission in snow; a blanket of quiet that puts away any worry of outdoor work. Gone from my list is raking the leaves. What I didn’t get done before the snow came will have to wait now for spring clean up. Snow is rest and silence and cups of cocoa.

          I find the space of ether in snow and I’m able to catch my breath. I carry a fire in my belly because my childhood held squeaky snow walks with my father that brought us together. Snow is more than weather, it makes a mood.

          Sounds like a great time to curl up with a good book. I grew a vivid appreciation for snowflakes while reading to my children. Snowflake Bentley, a Caldecott Award winner, was a slow read, just the thing for a hectic December.

          The story is about a boy turned man who falls in love with snow and spends his life capturing flakes of it with a camera. Each blizzard became a marvelous chance to score another image and add it to the growing collection he made with a microscope.

          I love the delicacy of each picture. The images look like grandmother’s lace. The care that Bentley took with his wintry camera was astounding.

          My family enjoys snow with our sleds, skis and other forms of romping. We are rarely slow enough out doors to marvel at the delicacy of a single flake. Yet each one is unique. With this book I enhanced my love of playing in the cold and gaining rosy cheeks. I came to see snow not in bunches but one flake at a time.

          If you, like me, are fascinated by those crystals with curlicues and sparkling diamonds, I recommend Rocky Mountain Snowflakes 1 and 2 as well. These books are written by Debra Bonzek and Dream Bee Publications offers them. (I think it’s worth a click just to get that rainbow bee to wave at me.)  

          Cutting snowflakes is a slow and delightful way to spend a winter afternoon, and they look so friendly on the sliding glass window or on the family tree. I like this book because the design begins as one picture and expands into another. Try the Teddy Bear design here. Or watch it happen on youtube here.

          Very much like the mystery of a storm, itty bitty crystals pile up one by one by one until there is a mountain of the fluffy stuff; enough to support my weight and carry me down the hill. A similar mystery happens to me each time I unfold a snowflake to see what my snips and clips have created. Snow is a little miracle and I am (almost) ready to appreciate the stuff for another season. Writing to all of you has tempted me to fall into the beauty rather than resisting the cold.


          Have you ever caught snowflakes on your mitten? Does the cold of winter draw you outside to play or push you in to sip something hot? Do you read more in the winter?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities December 1, 2010 at 7:30 am

So interesting because I have found myself reading A LOT more even in the last week and I think this coming of colder months does have something to do with it. There is nothing better than getting cozy with a book. And we adore reading to our little ones. My favorite bit from above? “There is permission in snow…” Absolutely gorgeous. And true.


TheKitchenWitch December 1, 2010 at 9:04 am

Thanks for the book ideas! I’m looking for a couple of new ones for the holiday season–I’ll be checking these out!


rebecca December 1, 2010 at 9:50 am


There are so many who complain about the cold, sometimes myself included. And, when I allowed myself to see the permission that snow offered: that of rest and cozy occupations… well, I found myself in love. An ease just creeped in at the corners. Isn’t this how it always goes when we stop resisting and surrender to what is. Happy reading.


rebecca December 1, 2010 at 9:54 am


We have special books we read at the holidays. Not so regularly as when the kids were little, but every once in a while they’ll indulge me and allow a cozy moment on the couch with mom reading to them. Sigh.


Deb Bonzek December 1, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Oh, you write so beautifully! Your children must be adored by the angels, to have lucked into getting a mother like you. Thank you for recommending my books…I read that snowflakes are the frozen promises of God! Time to thaw a few of those!


Kristen @ Motherese December 1, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Thank you for these luminous reviews, Rebecca – and for a worthwhile item or two to add to my boys’ Christmas wishlist. xo


6512 and growing December 3, 2010 at 11:06 am

Rocky Mountain snowflakes…that looks right up our alley!

And yes I do read more in the winter, and sleep more too.


rebecca December 3, 2010 at 11:31 am


Ah sleep! Better than gold! Better than a dip in the hot tub! Better than chocolate! Keep that sleep coming.


rebecca December 3, 2010 at 11:38 am


“Snowflakes are frozen promises of God” Love that.


SuziCate December 8, 2010 at 8:51 am

Beautiful! I am not especially fond of the cold, but I love snow…until it inconveniences me. I’ve bought lots of layering fleece this year, so maybe that will change and I will enjoy as I did when I was a child. Love the image of your grandmother’s lace. Did you ever attempt tatting? I croched snowflakes with intricate llinen thread in an attempt to piece them into a table cloth…never completed it, but I did save a few of the flakes.


rebecca December 8, 2010 at 10:24 am


One can never have enough fleece! So soft and cozy. It makes my winter.


Privilege of Parenting December 9, 2010 at 12:10 am

How fast those years of the island of yummy, at least for story-time, have passed… and how we hope for snow on cold nights, but it’s been more than fifty years since it snowed in LA. Still, it’s nice to drift back to childhood and blue shadows and big flakes meliting on your tongue and gathering on your lashes.


rebecca December 9, 2010 at 7:57 am


Big flakes gathering on my lashes. I know you’ve been in a wonderful snowy storm indeed. The kind with featherweight flakes. This is my favorite kind of snow.

Because you are such a fan of attachment parenting… I wonder what rituals you find to replace the island of yummy, that cuddly place for stories? Just yesterday I spoke with a father who seems mystified about connecting with his teenage son. I mentioned lifting weights together or fishing. But I would love to hear how you might cultivate that luscious coziness the island has to offer when the kids no longer crawl in bed with us in the mornings and evenings.


Privilege of Parenting December 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

Hi Rebecca—about your question regarding trying to create cozy bonding with teens, this snowflake discussion is apt. Kids too are like snowflakes in that none are exactly alike. Just as one can examine a flake closely and find a universe, with teens we need to observe closely and take interest in what interests them.

It’s qualitatively different then cozy reading tiem, but if I take interest in the tech blog or game my middle schooler is playing on his lap-top he will sometimes share and ear bud with me (but it’s a bit like waiting for that deer to nuzzle your hand in a Mary Oliver poem).

With my highschooler, our latest bonding is driving practice (now moving from survival mode to relaxed and chatting as we drive around for the sake of it, me no longer at the wheel as perfect metaphor, but shotgun has its privileges).

As for actual affection, I find that when they are completely sleepy (a.m. or p.m. they are not as guarded against a good hug; but to get any sort of hug back may be one in ten or twenty).

While I’ve done the golf, tennis, fishing, skiing, etc. as teens it’s hard to sustain a dedicated cozy (it doesn’t fit the kids’ self concept of growing independence); however, being open to what comes—dusting off the bikes, a regressive foray into kite flying on a windy day, exploring new tastes together at restaurants or in cooking together offer myriad opportunity to savor and go with the altared space of what just is just now. Namaste


Jim December 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I enjoyed this article, it reminds me of the permission I have given myself to lay down on my bed and read in the late afternoons. No guilt, I am retired, and have been thoroughly enjoying reading again. Seems in my “work life” I never made enought time to enjoy words. See you on the mountain!


rebecca December 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm


So interesting that you feel guilt if you read. I feel opposite guilt: if I don’t read. Where does guilt begin? Who makes the rules? And when does it end?

I love contemplating this while playing in the snow!


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