There are a few things I look forward to in the winter. No, not frigid temps or icy roads (I’m not a masochist) but rather the illusive mornings when we wake up to a world that has been wrapped – twig by twig, needle by needle – in galaverna.
What the heck is “galaverna”?! It’s a much prettier word than “hoarfrost”. I mean, honestly! Who on earth came up with that term? Yes, I know, it’s related to “hoary” as in “laying down your hoary head”…which means you’re white-haired and elderly. But, homonyms aside, it’s still an unattractive word.
“Galaverna”, on the other hand, is the Italian term. I learned this from Katy over at “Storytelling Nomad” http://storytellingnobad.wordpress.com. Katy, yet another of the Australian bloggers I enjoy, took a trip to Europe over the holidays and she learned about galaverna when she woke up to a white world in Italy.
Though I never thought about it before, it appears that neither “galaverna” nor “hoarfrost” are common in Australia, as Katy had never heard of either term. Here in Minnesota, USA, however, hoarfrost (excuse me, “galaverna”) is – while perhaps not exactly common – certainly familiar.
Galaverna is formed when it is foggy and the temperatures are below freezing, but the air is warmer than the stuff outside. The fog settles on each pine needle and blade of grass and freezes there…not in the guise of a twig dipped in water and then frozen, but rather in white flocking, white crystals. It is amazing and gorgeous and magical and almost fake…like white-flocked Christmas trees of days gone by…only real.
Galaverna is not snow. It is an extravagant form of frost on every tiny surface. It brings the unseen to light. It highlights. It wraps. It amazes.
I hope that these pictures do it justice.