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Following God Ordained Passions, like Wilson Bentley the Snowflake Photographer

I want to die the same way Wilson Bentley died.

Wilson grew up on a farm in Jericho, Vermont, and as a young boy he developed a fascination with snowflakes. Obsession might be a better word for it. Most people go indoors during snowstorms. Not Wilson. He would run outside when the flakes started falling, catch them on black velvet, look at them under a microscope, and take photographs of them before they melted. His first photomicrograph of a snowflake was taken on January 15, 1885.

Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.

The first known photographer of snowflakes, Wilson pursued his passion for more than fifty years. He amassed a collection of 5,381 photographs that was published in his magnum opus, titled Snow Crystals. And then he died a fitting death—a death that symbolized and epitomized his life. Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley contracted pneumonia while walking six miles through a severe snowstorm and died on December 23, 1931.

And that is how I figured out how I want to die. No, I don’t want to die from pneumonia. But I do want to die doing what I love. I am determined to pursue God-ordained passions until the day I die. Life is too precious to settle for anything less.

Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase (Multnomah, 2008), pp. 15-16

From a sermon by Terry Blankenship, Singing a Song of Wonder, 1/21/2010

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