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Photo © Cynthia Staples
Cynthia Staples : Winter Window Magic

Words & Images

Winter Window Magic

By Cynthia Staples

Each season holds unique opportunities for visual inspiration. Winters in New England, I’ve come to expect the sight of sunlight falling on snowy peaks or illuminating a frozen lake. Every year, I look forward to capturing these and other aspects of the region’s lovely landscape. So it is somewhat surprising that this year my most inspiring wintry landscape has been found inside the house.

Photo © Cynthia Staples

Frost on my bedroom window.

I was a little startled the first morning I pulled back the curtains to see translucent crystals. They cascaded across the glass like a bouquet of fiddlehead ferns. I later learned not an uncommon occurrence in an old home with single-paned windows. Mostly I ignored the frost. But then one day, well-bundled, I stood at the window long enough to watch the proverbial rosy fingers of dawn play upon the glass.

Photo © Cynthia Staples

With light came warmth as well as revelation. The ice began to melt. New shapes formed. Rainbow colors sparkled like scattered gems. Liquid pooled at the bottom of the window. Bits of dirt remained behind on the glass.

Photo © Cynthia Staples

I probably should have washed the windows more during the previous three seasons. But I could tell, and research later confirmed, that the dirt allowed the ice to form structures that would not have been possible on a squeaky clean surface. Structures that inspired one’s imagination to take flight.

Photo © Cynthia Staples

Mountains rose. A galaxy of stars stretched into infinity.

An icy-forest obscured the actual tree growing outside the window. Eventually, in a matter of minutes, the frost was gone. All that remained were beads of water and soon they too disappeared.

The images I photographed that day I will never be able to capture again this season. Future frost will not form in the same patterns. The sunlight will never shine through the window at the exact same angle or intensity. However, new frosty structures will form. New icy landscapes will emerge.

This winter, I will continue to trek across New England’s great outdoors, but I will also gladly peek behind the curtains on cold mornings. Who knows what wonders will be seen? •

Next: Finding Inspiration in the Dark »

© 2013 Cynthia Staples. All rights reserved.

Photo by Cynthia StaplesCynthia Staples is a highly creative writer and photographer living in the Boston area. Her words and images capture moments and memories and weave together inspiring stories for her readers. More »

Updated 4/17/14