Snowflake Bentley

Brain things, People / Friday, January 18th, 2013

Look what happened in the night–a magic all its own.

window frame tree shadow on snow


Confession: It is so easy to believe in everyone but the people we know and love best.

I’m not thinking of my man Ryan, because I’m freshly in love with him and I think he could probably, you know, do a chin-up on the Milky Way without breaking a sweat. I’m thinking of Snowflake Bentley.

Wilson Bentley was a crazy bachelor farmer back a hundred years ago who photographed snowflakes. It was his obsession. We still have scores of his beautiful snapshots; you can view some here. They call him Snowflake Bentley. I don’t know how he spent his summers.

Can you imagine how his family talked about that?

Or Doctor Seuss, world renowned author and illustrator. Can’t you just hear the women in his life wondering when he would like Grow Up and stop playing around with those ridiculous drawings? What kind of adult man invents creatures like the Schlottz—the crumple-horned, web-footed, green-bearded Schlottz—and then sits around writing little rhymes about them? If he isn’t muchly more worse off than you, I’ll eat my umbrella. That’s just what I’ll do.

I am guessing Mrs. Seuss had some grave doubts.

And Einstein? The man couldn’t dress to save his life, couldn’t keep a common sense thought in his head, couldn’t remember his schedule any day of the week.

And Jesus? Always out there talking to people about kingdom come. Forgot to eat. Didn’t have anywhere to live. Needed a good mom to take care of him.

Is anyone known for the serious and responsible work they do? Seems like the world remembers us for what we play with, what we obsess over, what we can’t leave alone. Seems like the world needs us just for that.

Sometimes I fuss over that child who can’t get his act together.

Sometimes I worry about that man off on a tangent.

Sometimes I wonder if I am building anything in the world, or just playing?

We all have to earn our keep. But in the end, we really don’t need Snowflake Bentley to plow a great field. We need him to take some snapshots.


Do you believe in the people closest to you?

What’s your impractical obsession?

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10 years ago

That is absolutely fascinating!!! Thanks, Shari!! I had never heard of the snowflake man!! 🙂

10 years ago

You are so right! This is a great reminder for me to be understanding of the people closest to me… I am definitely hardest on them, and can use this perspective!

I believe in the mantra, “Do what you are good at.” We are usually happiest and most productive when we do that… and I think God made us good at certain things on purpose, so we should do them! Why spend my time cleaning house meticulously because I feel that I should, and let my talents (Writing, or helping people… etc.) go unused? And yet… there has to be a certain amount of cleaning. The hard part is figuring out the balance. If it irritates those around me that the house isn’t clean, is that a sign I am not balancing it well? Just to use that as an example.

I love this post. And I especially love Dr. Seuss. 🙂

10 years ago

Does this include obsessions with building websites on Drupal until 2am? Count me in!

10 years ago
Reply to  Not the Boss

No. That is not play. That is just far-out wacko. But then, I’m your wife.