Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Poem – the lesson of a snowflake


close up photography of snowflake

Photo by Egor Kamelev on

What is the lesson of a snowflake?

this fragile, frozen traveler

that wends a path from heaven to my feet.

Is its flight a happenstance?

Or might it be a messenger,

an envoy sent to teach me some eternal

or ephemeral


Perhaps it comes to teach me aught of beauty.

To draw me into reverent contemplation —

a frozen moment of breath-catching awe —


crystallized in tiny spires of ice

that catch and play with quiet winter light.

Such power woven through so delicate an incarnation.


Or else, it might be teaching me of structure.

Of how the rules of physics

and molecular arrangement

can build with purpose, even in most frivolous display.

How order

in the wild chaos of a grey and cloudy sky

can even mighty nature tame

for my soul’s solace and delight.


But what of the most minuscule of flakes?

The germ or column bare of decorative arms?

The insubstantial chip of ice that barely merits notice

or inclusion in the family of frozen beauty?

The tiny missile that is gone

almost before it meets the chill warmth of my shivering skin?

What lesson can this disappearing flake of snow convey?


Why, this small bit of snow is the most wise and telling of my teachers.

For in its briefest life it carries a reminder,

that while the winter may be coming,

the warmth of life can always melt the cold.

Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

6 thoughts on “Poem – the lesson of a snowflake

  1. Thank you, Serena. Behold…..snowy inspiration perhaps missed if you were living in California? “All times are His seasons. All occasions invite His mercies.”

  2. I love your writing I just read your snowflake post
    You see so creative and expressive and think deeply about what you write
    Thanks for your insights
    Can you send me your faith family and foccacia again ?
    My new email is

    • Thank you Dan. I love how the task of composing a poem holds me in the moment long enough to really engage and think deeply.

      • Dear Serena, you are always so well-versed and insightful. I love reading your blog and sharing it with my Developmentally challenged adult religious ed class. They really respond well to it and thank me for reading your poems and insights to them. I once read them the Lord’s Prayer and the part about…Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and one woman responded, “I Get it!!! God forgives me and I forgive everybody else.” I said, “That’s It !!! class is done. Let’s pass out the cookies!!!”

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