Tuesday, 12 January 2010
By Johna Ferguson
What is it that makes fog so mysterious? After all, it’s only condensed water, something we drink and wash in every day. Fog certainly can’t hurt you or kill you, unless of course you are in an accident because you couldn’t see where you were going. But none the less, it creates an eerie feeling. It cloaks you like a cloudy wrap, shrouding your body just like the white muslin strips Egyptian mummies were wrapped in.
It rolls in and covers the hills and valleys in a soft, yet impermeable blanket. You want to stretch and throw it off, only you find it won’t go anywhere. It just clings around you and everything else like saran wrap. It also leaves you with a damp feeling, almost like it recently rained lightly, yet it hasn’t.
It smothers sounds so everything seems quiet, like the inside of a cavernous cathedral. If you live by the sea you can hear the wailing of the fog horns on the ships as they try to ply their way safely into the harbor but most other sounds are muffled as though you have cotton in your ears.
It’s certainly not very romantic like a full moon in the sky, yet fog does make deep impressions on one. It seems a little depressing after awhile for you really can’t discern much of anything around you. Many people want to stay home by a fire rather than venture out in it; maybe they are afraid of getting lost or killed as it’s a perfect cover for a street murder for it hides you from all eyes and leaves no foot or fingerprints. It’s a perfect cover for a mystery story; how can the stalker find the stalked or visa versa?
The fog clings to one’s body like a suit of armor, yet it is weightless. You can easily move your body through it, but as soon as you have left one place it has again filled that space in and surrounded you in your new place.
It hides your shadows; you can’t even cast your second-self onto the sidewalk or a building as you walk by. Even the headlights of the cars and buses are dimmed by it, almost like being in a slightly drunken stupor. Traffic slows to a crawl, people walk cautiously and even dogs scurry along with their tails between their legs.
The once stupendous view from the restaurant at the top of a skyscraper now is nothing. Customers order another round of drinks as though that will obliterate it and remove it from their minds. Moods sink, conversation almost stops as everyone contemplates how to manage their lives in the miserable, heavy layer of fluff that lies like a smothering blanket over the city so the streets and byways below are invisible.
You can’t wish it away, you can’t sweep it away, in fact there is nothing you can do but live with it and wait. Eventually the wind will come and blow it away and you will be left in that beautiful, colorful world you remembered from before. The fog will go, forgotten quickly, but like a lonely feeling, it will eventually return. It will slowly creep back and rekindle all your ideas about it as it starts again to envelope you into itself.
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]