Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Delicate Lacy Sparkles

Isn't it beautiful? Pogonip is one of my favorite treats. If you've every wondered where my blog got its name, you're in the right place...

It's an amazingly beautiful and incredibly infrequent phenomenon. I've lived in Nevada since '88 and we've only had pogonip four times! Pogonip is the Indian word for frozen fog and pogonip may be unknown outside the Great Basin.

Fog almost never occurs here; our humidity level is so low that there is no real point in measuring it. Fortunately, January is the magical (and extremely cold) month that occasionally produces an overnight fog.

The fog precipitates out just on the tips of pine trees and the edges of remnant leaves clinging to their trees and around skinny dormant branches. Then our pre-dawn temps plunge from almost freezing to mid-20s and the pogonip crystals begin growing. We awaken to find ourselves inside a fairy tale. Delicate white lace decorates our entire world. Even common chainlink fences take on an ethereal appearance.

Two years ago, the pogonip was incredible. It stayed around for three days and the crystals grew larger each night. A huge snowpack contributed moisture and a chilly overcast prevented it from melting during the day. As I walked to my car at lunchtime, the sun peeked out and a breeze appeared from nowhere and suddenly I felt like I was inside a snow globe with sparkles swirling all around me. Some moments are just unforgettable!

Pogonip was an irresistable title for a blog--I have a January birthday so I have a certain connection to this event. If you google it, you'll find out that there is a book called Pogonip Magic and there is a park and trail in California (for some reason that I have yet to understand) and there is a Pogonip geological formation. But that's it. It's a very fun word and basically unknown outside the Great Basin. My newly arrived (and elderly) neighbors raved about having pogonip to a friend in California and she wanted to know what kind of sex they were talking about. We all got a good grin out of that one.

Since I love Nevada and everything about it, I just had to put in the NV. And if you say the whole blog title it sounds like Pogonip Envy. That was the original title but I couldn't make my banner show it as "eNVy" so I just took the easy route.

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