The Snowflake Man

Ever heard of Wilson Bentley? He was a farmer who did something remarkable. He was self-educated, which is in itself a noteworthy achievement, but he went on to do something that no one else had done before him. And his discovery has ingrained itself into our understanding of the world.

What was it that Bentley did? He was a pioneer in the field of photomicrography (taking pictures of things through a microscope), but that wasn’t the totality of his accomplishments. He adapted a microscope to a bellows camera, and after years of trying he finally accomplished his great feat – he took pictures of snowflakes. The year was 1885.

He went on to capture 5,000 snowflakes (or more accurately snow crystals).  His images were studied by colleges and universities worldwide.  This one-time farmer gained worldwide acclaim and affectionately earned the nickname “Snowflake” Bentley.

I was moved by his words concerning his claim to fame: “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others.  Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated.  When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost.  Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.”  I’m don’t know if he was a man of faith, but he surely saw design in those tiny snowflakes.

There is a great Designer who created the heavens and the earth and all that is contained in both. He speaks through the great expanses of the heavens and the details found under a microscope. When you have time to meditate on it, read Psalm 19.

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