Each year at this time, the crystalline designs that appear each morning offer clear evidence that we need to replace the remaining leaky windows in our house. Someday, when the budget allows, we will.
We took care of the worst of the failing windows years ago in the process of a kitchen/family room renovation. The replacements are thermal, with faux-panes imbedded between two sheets of glass. From a distance, they look like traditional windows, but up close, they are fakes—two dimensional and vinyl, verses the remaining originals which were constructed with real wood. Other then the ease-of-cleaning these weather-tight products deliver, I’ve disliked the “new” versions since they were installed about fifteen years ago. This may be why I’m hesitant to replace our old kitchen window, and the two huge front picture windows, which flow five panes down, nine across and provide style and definition to our 1950’s ranch.
And then there is this. It’s only on the original windows, where frigid outside temperatures collide with the warmed air of the inside, that early January mornings deposit ice bouquets. Furry white leaves and stems bow and blend and feather beside each other, the twigs of frost flowers, planted by cold, blossoming on our failing glass. Depending on the the breeze, the dampness, the strenght of artic pressure systems, every day brings a unique design, always fleeting, deigned to melt. For the next few weeks though, they'll form again overnight—an unexpected seasonal garden that no impermeable modern window could ever replicate.