Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fog



Fog

THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
--Carl Sandburg

I always thought Carl Sandburg's poem was the best description I'd ever read of fog. When I first read it as a child, I thought it described fog perfectly. Though growing up in Idaho, we didn't have harbors (or much of a city for that matter). Our fog came creeping out of the Boise River and settled primarily over the airport each winter.

Still, I loved fog. It was mystery. It was intrigue. It cloaked everyday objects in a misty coat of shifting shadows. I was always very disappointed when the cat moved on.

Seattle has its share of fog. It can slink into the city for days. I remember my first year at college in Seattle. I was heading home to Boise for Christmas and sure enough Sea-Tac Airport was socked in by fog. I waited for hours and finally my airplane popped through a window of fog and winged me to Boise only to discover the fog had beaten me there. The Idaho Statesman ran a photo of my father at the airport staring out the window at the fog while he waited for my plane. The plane landed in Idaho Falls a hundred miles away and I had to take a bus into Boise.

The fog hung around Boise through the holiday and I had to take a Grayhound back to Seattle. When I arrived at the bus station and stepped into a cab at 2 a.m. to go back to my dorm, the cab driver pointed out that someone had stolen the Space Needle. Sure enough when I looked up, the Space Needle had been decapitated by a fog bank.

You have to admire the fog's persistence.

Fog is often used as a metaphor for clouded thought. But to me it is clarity. Fog smooths the lines of reality and softens our point of view. My dreams are often filled with fog.

I think when my time comes, and others are stepping into the light, I will walk into the fog instead.
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