The photograph I selected for Day Four of the Twelve project reminded me of one of the days when colour and light grabbed my attention. Day Five’s photograph was taken the day that a noise I’d never heard before made me stop what I was doing and open the front door to find out what was on earth was happening.
The noise started suddenly and seemed to completely fill the world. It was a clattering, hammering, thundering noise, like the heaviest of heavy rain but with a harder quality to it. When I opened the door I saw chunks of ice falling everywhere. When it hit the garden table and chairs it played them like a set of drums. When it hit the grass it bounced back up a couple of feet before landing back down again – the grass was covered with white pieces, not like snow, not like frost, but as if a giant bucket of white marbles had been poured out from the sky. I could here a very strange noise which was the sound of the hail tearing through the leaves of the mulberry tree and all the other plants in the garden. Leaves, and bits of leaves, were flying everywhere. I held out my hand and was immediately stung by hailstones.
There was nothing to do but wait till it passed. Of course I grabbed my camera and took some video clips to record both what I could see and what I could hear. It lasted about fifteen minutes, then it stopped, as suddenly as it began. I wandered out and started to look more closely at the ice particles.
Every single one of them was different.
There were ragged, irregular ones, round ones, opaque ones, transparent ones, some which looked like small sculptures and they were a huge range of different sizes. I photographed many of them.
This one particularly caught my attention because it looked for all the world like an eyeball, which was spooky to say the least.
I look again at these photographs and I’m astonished at the diversity. I read many times that no two snowflakes are identical but to see that played out around my feet in these ice particles made that fact all the more powerfully real.
Water. It’s just water. How incredible that it can form into what appears to be an infinitely large range of shapes and sizes.
And what power! I wrecked havoc in the vineyards around here. In a neighbouring village the storm lasted twice as long as here – half an hour – and in that time it destroyed the entire year’s vines.