Why does snow glow blue? How could a fly possibly survive high-elevation elements? Join us for an exploration of Washington’s winter wonders.

A Snowflake is a Sestina

It takes about an hour
after leaving its cloud
for a snowflake
to reach the ground.
Each flake has six sides
and a nucleus — a particle

of pollen, or a particle
of dust. Fallen in an hour,
from the icy insides
of winter clouds
to glitter on the ground,
such is the life of a snowflake.

Each luminous snowflake
is 90% air, and a particle
risen from the ground;
grown in under an hour
by wind and water in a cloud,
dancing whimsy on all sides,

until six crystalline sides
tumble out as a snowflake,
a flake as unique as the cloud
where it began as a particle,
grew within an hour
and fell to the ground.

Here on the ground
from the warm sides
of windows, the hours
drift by while Snowflakes
drift down, downy particles,
flattened flecks of cloud,

crystalized flecks of cloud
drifting to the ground —
100,000 water particles
vaporized and frozen inside
a cloud to make Snowflakes
which pile up by the hour.

The hours, light as clouds, scatter
snowflakes on the ground; six lacy
sides embracing a particle of dust.

To Have (a second poem by Rena Priest)

What luck to have a quiet window,
a warm place to watch the passing world,
to be an audience to falling snow,

to sit beneath a lamplight’s gentle glow,
in pleasant revery with fists uncurled.
What luck to have a quiet window,

A warm place to let my worries go.
What luck, to have safety from the cold,
to be an audience to falling snow,

to enjoy nature’s dazzling show —
how in bitter winds ice dust is twirled.
What luck to have a quiet window.

How terrible it is to know
that others have no place in the world
to be an audience to falling snow;

no safety, no warmth, no place to go.
It means my heart must be so cold.
What luck to have a quiet window,
to be an audience to falling snow.