Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Morning


I sat on a cold driver’s seat in darkness
And fit the key in the ignition by feel
The car seemed to think about starting
When I turned its old key fast past run
But the manual choke revved the engine
And promised to warm the car in a while
My cold left hand let go the steering wheel
And buried itself in the warm nest of my legs
I knew it wouldn’t take long to warm up
As the softly frosted windows cleared
For a moment with each spray of fluid
I watched the windshield for progress
It was beautiful,,, a clear playing field
Of mystery and beauty for water and frost
As the sweet warm breath of a childlike God
Was playing across my glistening window
Each bouquet of frost spread out in pans
  Forming quickly in a white magical way
Giving each streetlight six pointed ray
After the engine warmed - no frost survived
What a miracle of water and frost I watched
As if they never heard of the rules
That fashion all the other compounds

One specific example is that water expands when it changes from a liquid to a solid.  This is the opposite of most other compounds which typically shrink in volume as they solidify.  In other words, while other compounds typically increase in density when they 'freeze' - ice density is lowed when it freezes.  This means that ice floats on water and therefore the bottom of lakes remain accessible to aquatic organisms for living and feeding.  Without this unique physical property - life would not exist here on earth as we know it.  Ecological diversity would probably be much lower than it is today (if water dependent life survived at all).  Bottom dwelling aquatic insect species in far northern and far southern aquatic habitats would be most severely affected if ice were to increase in density when it froze.  Sinking ice would likely starve or kill these organisms and stress all the other species that depend on them.