Nature may be indifferent to our love, but never unfaithful. –Ed Abbey
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Snow– a crystallized compound– is technically a mineral. It takes many forms. Here is a picture of sastrugi, snow deposited and sculpted by wind.

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A footstep compresses snow and leaves a footprint. Hidden at the bottom of the print is a column of bonded crystals. When wind blows away the surrounding snow, excavating and then isolating it, it reveals a positive of the former footprint’s negative space.

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I laughed when I discovered Robert Macfarlane’s perfect word for this hidden shadow of the footprint: footplinth. A plinth is the “heavy base supporting a statue”.

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The Inuit are known for having forty different words to describe snow. When I’m skiing I carry four different types of wax. But there are many different ways to use them: wax in the pocket or from tip to tail, one wax in the pocket and a different one on the tips and tails. And then there are all the conditions I can’t wax for at all, that practically render me helpless.

Winter travel can be magically efficient or dangerously unproductive. It’s everything that summer is not. And that’s what makes our seasons good.

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