Fog. It’s a part of everyday life in Nova Scotia, though I seem to recall more of it when I was a younger lad. Fog bothers people, for several reasons. From a beauty point of view it is hard to see the vistas and look offs and rugged harbours that make our region so arresting when the fog only permits you to see what is in front of your face. From a safety point of view fog can lead to poor visibility and accidents. I know I loathe driving in the fog. I don’t know many people who long for the foggy days.
Yet my friend Gordon wrote me an email yesterday, responding to photos I sent him from my friend Brian. One of Brian’s photos was of fog and it came out very well, the colour of the sky and the fog melted together for a lovely textured vision. I really liked it and so did the folks I sent the photos to. But Gordon also commented on the effect of the fog, it had come with rain and the rain had washed away much of the snow that had accumulated in our area. With so much of the snow gone we can now see better but we can also move around our city more easily and more safely. Fog, like a steam room, can have a cleaning effect, in more ways than one.
It got me thinking of fog. On one hand it does obscure our view and prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. I lament that. But it also forces us to see what is closer to our presence and that can be a very insightful experience. During foggy days I am more conscious of what I can walking by, I am more aware of how my feet feel in my shoes, I am more connected to the sounds of the people and animals and vehicles around me. On foggy days my radar is limited but it is more acute.
One thing I noted over the last few days of fog was the puddles and how the children seemed to take such delight with them. We adults see puddles as universally bad, a nuisance, and a source of dry cleaning bills. But children dance and jump in and out of the puddles, they take what is given them and make play out of it. Imagine if we hardened adults would be open to the same kind of attitude.
In essence fog slows us down, forces us to look close by and makes us aware of tiny pleasures we otherwise would miss.
And when I think of the fog this song always comes to mind…