I flipped on the tube the other morning and the TV weather forecaster was using the highly technical term “diamond dust” to describe what’s been going on here in Calgary over the past couple of days. It made me think of little fairies flitting about at sunrise, their delicate wings catching the light just so as they sprinkled the trees with icy filaments of sparkling snow conjured from the still, cold air. And then I got to wondering if maybe we ought to use science-based language for weather reports, you know…just because.
I remember when I was very young and we were having a cold snap during the winter – it was consistently minus 40 something degrees Celsius for over a week. We lived out in the country at the time and remote car starters weren’t a thing back then so my Dad had to go outside and start the vehicle to warm it up before driving into town to work. One morning he walked inside, shaking frost off of his coat, and announced that the air was so cold “you could cut it with a knife!” I was absolutely captivated by this expression, I kept rolling it around in my head and trying to figure out how a person would go about doing something like that. Did you need a sharp steak knife, or would a flat butter knife do? Did you just go outside and start slashing away or should you choose a specific piece of the air to cut?
I’m not sure what I would have done with the concept of frost as “diamond dust.” I guess that’s how stories and poems get written. And weather reports, apparently. ;)