A Molecule of Change

The snow and ice falling from the roof got me thinking about change.

One moment, the snow and ice is a solid mass sitting on top of the house. As it warms it approaches the point where it can no longer hold in one place. Eventually, it passes that point and the solid mass slides off, falls, and explodes on the ground.

The moment of change is what interests me. At first, lots of tiny bits of snow and ice grip the roof, working together to cling to the shingles. But a few little bits decide to buck the status quo, and they loosen their grip by melting.

Others join the melters. At some point, very few bits of snow and ice are holding everything in place. But the mass remains on the roof.

Finally, that one holdout joins the others and melts. That final water molecule was all it took to change things completely. The snow and ice crash to the ground.


This applies to creating change in our lives. You or I might be that final molecule on any given issue. We might be all that it takes to cause an avalanche, but perhaps we are clinging to the roof, holding everything else back.

Comments | 3

  • Coincidentally

    Just as I was reading this, a ledge of snow that had been hanging way off the back porch roof suddenly crashed to the ground….

    I love the idea of the little ice particles melting one by one, slowly and inexorably altering the status quo. The only thing that can halt this process is for conditions to suddenly and quickly reverse. But even a rapid refreeze (in the case of the melting snow) won’t likely keep that snow ledge on the roof. It’s gone too far — change is gonna come. Crash!

  • Noted

    There were a lot of molecules out this weekend, marching, holding signs, and so on.

    I should probably add that for this argument, “change” is neutral. Neither positive nor negative. It could be that things swing toward something better, or you could be the one tipping things toward a worse future.

  • Randomness

    A friend mentioned that a neighbor walked to her garage and perfectly, randomly stepped into the exact spot to be hit by a roof avalanche at the give-way moment. She’s on the mend with a new hip.

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