Fog

By LEON YOUNGBLOOD

The weather conditions have given us some wonderfully foggy days, and it seems something ought to be said about it. Nothing new can be said; originality is impossible, but at least applicable, recycled words can be shuffled and used so that things can be said that at least appear new. That is what I am going to attempt to do.

BRIAR CIRCLE

First, I am all in favor of fog.  I always have been.  Fog, being composed of tiny water droplets, is basically a cloud on the ground, but what a cloud!  I think a square mile of fog contains over 54,000 gallons of water, but remember, this water is dispersed in tiny droplets.  This is a good thing, I guess, or we would otherwise drown.  I believe fog forms when the “dew point” (the ground temperature that moisture condenses) and the air temperature are less than 5 degrees apart.  If you can see over 6/10ths of a mile under such conditions, then you do not have fog, you have mist; under 6/10ths of a mile, you have fog.  I know I have been in fog thick enough that I could see only a few feet, which is fine except for a few occasions when I was driving.  Thick fog has contributed to major traffic accidents not only on the highways, but in the skyways, as well.  In the worst case, over 400 people died when jumbo jets collided in foggy conditions.  You can look this sort of thing up for yourself, if you want.   


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Foggy days at Briar Circle in the Ouachita wilderness are generally soothing, peaceful experiences, and generally conducive to long walks.  Inhaling the fog is bracing and healthy, but that’s because the air is clean.  In cities, there are pollutants water droplets can latch onto to create smog.  It’s hard to imagine killer fog, but smog has caused numerous deaths around the world.  This is something else you can “google”, too, if you are interested. 

I like them, but not everybody cares for damp, foggy days.  I recently got up on one of our rough, cold mornings, and lured by the beckoning forest, put on long johns, thermal socks, a long-sleeved undershirt, heavy pants, flannel shirt, my Canadian-made winter coat and one of those fuzzy knit head covers you can pull down over your ears.  As I got my winter gloves, I asked the cat, “Petunia, would you like to join me for a walk?  It’s freezing, but it’s a beautiful foggy day.”

Petunia was curled up on a chair by the fireplace.  She looked at me with the sort of aloof indifference felines are noted for, yawned, put her left paw over her face and went back to sleep.  I went by myself.  I did so very carefully, not being as agile and limber as I used to be.  There was a thin dusting of snow and ice over everything; I had my walking stick, but I had forgotten my phone.  Everything except the snow was in various shades of gray, and unwisely, I ventured forth phoneless.  To me, it seemed like God was all over the place, though He was purposely being quiet.  That was all right.  The Biblical admonition, “Be still, and know that I am God,” came to mind.  The silence was, indeed, golden.

I am fickle, though.  The next morning, the sun was shining and Petunia thought it would be nice to see what was happening outside.  She jumped on the little table by my side of the bed and meowed until I stirred.  I checked my phone’s weather app; it was 16 degrees.  I looked at Petunia with the cynical indifference I am noted for, yawned, put my left hand over my face and went back to sleep.

It was for her own good, though.  Sometimes, you just have to show the cat who’s boss. 


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