Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Wisdom in the Rhythm of Water

a frozen sculpture of ice on a brook with a leaf on top and snow in the foreground.

Hello fellow readers, There is wisdom in the rhythm of the water. Water is everywhere, including as vapor in our atmosphere and the cells of all living things. During a deep freeze like the one we recently enjoyed, some say endured, ice crystals decorated our storm windows like etchings of intricate art.

I especially love the early sunrise over the etchings creating a beautiful winter scape on glass and the ice formations on the brook on which I am blessed to live. It’s mystifying how portions of the moving water become frozen in time while the remaining water runs through the magnificent sculptures of ice.

crystals on a window that look like snow flakes with the sun rising in the background.

Making Mystifying Patterns and Sculptures in Ice
a frozen pond with a covered bridge and a. mysterious pattern in the dusting of snow.

Jolee inspects the mysterious etching on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Eve day, there was an unusual pattern in a dusting of snow on our pond, like skid marks leading to a landing of a mysterious creature with bands of ice rimming the edge of the water.

Yes, you could say I’m a fan of frigid temps, as long as everyone is safe. And a fan of frozen nose hairs (call me odd), especially in freshly fallen snow, with the promise of a glorious glide on skis as the frigid snow squeaks.

I think about the scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas when the characters stick out their tongues to taste the snowflakes. I do the same, though many say you’re not supposed to eat snow because of the contaminants it absorbs from the pollution in the sky. “Don’t eat yellow snow,” we’re always coached as kids, meaning a critters wee-wee spot, but it is more than that. Decaying fallen leaves, air pollution, and pollen can cause yellowing. Then some bacteria or algae can turn snow reddish, brown, or greyish-black. Still, there are snow ice cream recipes you can find online. They suggest harvesting the top layer of freshly fallen snow – far from the ground.

an ice formation on a pond that looks like a tree growing out of an island.

A Magical Tree of Ice on Catfish Pond, Blairstown NJ

The Hidden Messages in Water

You likely know every snowflake is unique, and I believe the same is true of the ice crystals on windows – indeed, their intricate patterns are brilliant.

Dr. Masaru Emoto observed how kind thoughts and words of love and thank you towards the water in a container turned it into exquisite crystals. While threatening phrases written on the containers, such as “I will kill you” or “you fool,” caused the crystals to become misshapen as if confused.

Some say Emoto’s experiments were not considered scientific and, therefore, invalid. But just as there are naysayers, many admire the findings. So much so that his book, The Hidden Messages in Water (2004), became a New York Times best seller.

There’s no question about the power of water, how it carves through the earth making grand canyons, and how it can cause catastrophic damage during storm events. Yet, it’s soft to touch, and you can’t grasp it. Though when it’s frozen, you can, but even then, the surface is smooth and slippery, and it will eventually melt and become soft again. All living things are made of water. It makes up 75% of our body, though it declines as we grow older. And 85% of our brain; hopefully, that remains steadfast.

ice crystals on a widow overlooking a beige barn. The Cycle of Water 

Water evaporates into the air. Then condensation turns it into precipitation back to our dear earth, where water flows from the soil into streams and rivers. All the while, evaporation takes place, bringing water back into the air—a constant cycle like the seasons.

Water always flows to the lowest places, leading ultimately to the ocean, the largest and most dynamic body of water.

Speaking of water: during the winter, if nature does not provide, and the ground is not frozen, it’s essential to keep newly installed plants moist. So please give them a drink, then turn the valve off to your hose bib before the next freeze (Don’t ask how I know this- smile.)

A yellow golden retriever with snow on her nose walking along a frozen brook

My beloved Miss Ellie Mae is inspecting the frozen brook on which we live.

Water flows in its own rhythm.

There’s something else from the observations of water you’ll notice. It doesn’t always flow evenly downstream. Sometimes it flows upstream or circles about, but ultimately, it finds the lowest point. It flows in its own rhythm; we have no control of the flow, like the currents in our lives. It’s the “lesson of the leaf” my brother shared with me, and I’m still learning to trust and let go like a leaf in the water. Go with the flow as they say, merrily, merrily down the stream.

Water serves us in so many ways. Indeed, it’s a life force for our crops and our food. And we use it for recreation, swimming, skiing, scuba diving, ice skating— or merely watching the power of the ocean, the cycle of the waves, and the tides, the beautiful circle of life.

As we welcome a new year, find comfort in the continuing cycle of seasons and admire crystals on your windows, ice on the pond, or streams frozen in time, sending your love and thanking it for its life-giving sustenance. Happy New Year.

Garden Dilemmas? (and your favorite Podcast App.)

There’s more to the story in Episode 89 of the Garden Dilemmas Podcast:

Link to the story about the Lesson of Leaf.

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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