Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sublimation, as I am sure you all recall from high school chemistry, is a thing that involves skipping a stage in evaporation.
The word also has a psychological meaning, which we won't go into, save to say it usually involves turning a desire that might be frowned up into one that is more socially acceptable. Say, if for instance, you like to beat the snot out of people, so doing on the street might get you arrested. But if you join a boxing gym or a martial arts class, the law figures you and the rest of the gang thumping each other deserve each other.
Mmm, meanwhile, back at the definition ...
When sun shines on snow, but the temperature isn't warm enough for the snow to melt and then evaporate, the snow will eventually sublime, i.e. go from the solid to the gaseous form of water without the liquid phase. So the snow gradually recedes, albeit somewhat slower than evaporation. Different densities do so at different rates, so that footprint you left out on the driveway yesterday, being compressed and denser, might be sitting there all by itself today.
Thus, snow is more active than it appears on a bright-sunny-but-cold day, and that there are changes that make it more dangerous to traverse, especially on a sidewalk that has been packed down by many passersby. That means that if you are walking your dogs and they decide to give a tug just as you step on one of these sublimating patches, you might find yourself skiing without the benefits of skis.
To deal with such things, there are little rubber things with cleats that you can strap to your shoes. These go by various names, but probably the most popular ones are YakTrax. We have some cheaper knock-offs that don't have as many cleats, but even so, they are hip-savers.
You might consider getting some of these if you have to be out and about in the snow. Less than twenty bucks, and cheap considering what having a busted wrist or hip would set you back.
You can get them in a lot of places, but here, at Amazon.com is convenient.