Snow provides more than winter fun. It supplies a measured supply of water to underground water reserves as it slowly melts and percolates down to the water table. In contrast, rain water is often carried away quickly as surface runoff along with an accompanying soil erosion.
Falling snow also purifies the air. Every snow flake catches floating dust particles as it falls and grows, sweeping contaminants from the atmosphere.
Snowflakes are about ninety percent air. This makes them good ground insulators and sound mufflers. The night time temperature can be more than twenty degrees warmer beneath a layer of protective snow. This insulation keeps the ground from freezing to great depth. In this way it acts as an important safeguard for the water table and prevents widespread permafrost.
As valuable as snow is for practical reasons, it’s also a source of beauty and variety in nature. The developing flakes take on different shapes, depending on the temperature and the amount of moisture in the air. It really is true that every snowflake is unique. This is an amazing thing considering that each cubic foot of snow contains about twenty million flakes. During all history so many snow flakes have fallen that their number is several billion times more than the total number of stars in the universe. Yet each is unique.
So this winter sing “Let it snow,” and appreciate the practical value and beauty of this winter gift.