Nature tends to use the same building blocks and patterns over and over again. The splay of rivers and streams over a broad plain looks identical to the splay of veins on a broad leaf plucked from any tree. Some sea anemone might easily be mistaken for a carnation flower but for their location. The crystalline structures of metals and stone are not so different from the crystals formed by water as it freezes.
The order of crystals that transforms water into the ice we see begins at the atomic level. In turn these small atomic structures assemble themselves into bigger symmetrical structures. Those structures then stack into yet larger orderly forms. Looking back down inside ice and frost is rather like opening a set of wooden Russian Matryoshka dolls where a smaller doll is found inside the bigger doll. Inside that doll is yet another. And inside the second doll is a third—on down to the very tiniest doll inside that seeded the climb to the biggest, spectacular one.
The ice crystals, bent and shaped by the elements around us as they steadily gather, in addition to making snow, may assemble into windows, castles and all manner of intricate arrangements of frost.
Moreover, the larger forms assembled by communities of living cells and assemblages of lifeless minerals and compounds quite often paint the very same picture—though one is alive and the other is not. As a perfect illustration, I am posting photographs I snapped of ice formations I found on my concrete driveway early yesterday morning.
Is that not a bunch of grasses? Is that not a forest of gracefully bowed trees?