An Icicle

by John C. Westervelt

The coating of yesterday’s ice has met its nemesis in today’s bright, noonday sun. While eating lunch, I view icicles growing on the edge of my neighbor’s roof. You show an icicle to a child, and he glows with belief. The icicle fills me with wonder.

Two hydrogen atoms on the sun combine to form a helium atom and the left over energy is radiated outward. Eight minutes later, traveling at the speed of light, the radiated energy is transformed into heat as it strikes the roof where it melts the ice. The water then drips off the edge into the cold air where it freezes once again.

As the icicle forms, the water flows down to the tip where surface tension holds the drop while it freezes. My lunch time observations began with a hot bowl of scout stew. One bite remains, and it’s cold. As I have watched, the longest icicle has grown half an inch longer.

I can think of no other reason for God’s icicle than to provide wonder for the child and for me.

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