Saturday, January 8, 2011

De mist, La niebla, The Fog

The major problem with fog is that you can't see in it. The view is obstructed, more so than snow, sleet, rain, or hail. Even the mailman's creed doesn't guarantee that you will receive your mail in this element. In Adventures in Odyssey, the character Wooton Bassett said the mailman motto is: "Rain or shine, snow or sleet, we deliver your mail! (But sunny days are optional...)" He should have added "and fog?..your shit out of luck bud."

Fog, or de mist in Dutch, has romanticized, horrified, and mesmerized us for centuries. It has also wreaked havoc on travel, caused countless accidents, and most recently denied my paycheck's arrival by several days. This is a combination of my head being in de mist for the last two weeks and not setting up direct deposit into my account the way I should have already. Instead I have been awaiting paper delivery in which la niebla has decided will not happen just yet. Today the rain was supposed to wash away this lingering wall of gray but it has only pushed it back a few feet. It's still there ready to pull forward once more, like walls closing in, and surrounding oneself in a fortress of isolation. Almost as if caught in a shimmering web of time, unaware of what lie ahead or what was left behind.

I remember growing up in the fog in the San Joaquin Valley. We didn't get the snow nor much rain, we just got drowned in layers of dense fog. It was almost as if you could scoop it away with your hands the stuff was so thick. On family trips we would go to the central California coast and go deep sea fishing off Morro Bay. The tiny fishing vessel would get lost in the fog a few miles off shore. You would feel as if you were adrift in the middle of the ocean. Behind the fog Jaws could be ready to pounce, a giant octopus could be surfacing, or a pirate ship itself lost in time could be slowly creeping up. All those await behind the uncertainty which is what la niebla represents most of all. Once it clears and the sun melts it away it is not a shark but a seal, nor a pirate ship but a buoy and we feel relieved and disappointed all at once.

Flying home for Christmas one year on Christmas Eve from Seattle I remember the fog causing much mischief. The plane was rerouted to San Jose and when we weren't given clearance to leave the plane there, once again directed to Monterrey. From there buses were scheduled to drive us the two plus remaining hours to Fresno. When the bus drivers decided a 1 am drive was not on the agenda a fleet of taxis were the back up option. I arrived to see the family Christmas day at 4 am. This would only be unusual if it wasn't so frequent. The east coast may have to deal with snow but the central CA valley and fog have caused far more delays and rerouting over the years and of that I would wager on.

There are many things I like about the fog. It is mysterious. It does make my mind wander with possibilities. In movies the scenes of fog can introduce lovers or villains. It can surprise soldiers in battle or save heroes from being pursued. It is then both a friend and an enemy, to be appreciated and feared, and make one instropective and aggravated. I know it does both to me. Yet at least it is the weather that is making things less clear than my mind which for the first time in a while seems pretty focused, minus a paycheck..that better be there Monday. Damn fog!

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