Last night at about 9:00 PM the air changed. The breeze shifted in an instant. The cool ocean air washed over the house and drifted through the open windows. It is that way with the fog here in Northern California. It is like a fickle lover that evaporates and abandons you on a whim, only to return on its own terms in due course.
One gets addicted to the fog and the renewal it provides. Heat waves are rare here and when they come the crankiness is palpable most everywhere. Air pressing down, still and claustrophobic, I look around, wondering when the wind will shift and bring us back our fog. And then it comes and in an instant, like flicking a mood switch, I feel almost euphoric.
The first thing I want to do with fog is walk into it. A hike into fog is like no other. Its wet blanket muffles sound in a way that makes it more dream than real. Our world closes down into a cocoon, our horizon shrinks, the present moment clarifies. A hike into fog makes the skin tingle with life, the lungs brisk with oxygen, the spirit renewed with hope.
One day, on the Coastal Trail, the fog was so thick I could not see more than five feet in front of me. In the distance, the muffled sound of trail workers alerted me to their presence. Their spirited banter seemed incongruous to the subdued atmosphere of the shrouded land. I kept waiting to see them as their voices grew louder. And louder. Suddenly their animated shapes appeared, the fog cleared just a little, and a photograph was born.