An Ode to Fog

Big Ben in foggy London

Big Ben in London, of course | Copyright Siri Paulson, 2007

I’ve always loved fog.

I’m not even sure why or when it started. (I remember a beloved book from my childhood, Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer, but I’m not sure which came to me first, the fog-love or the book. But I digress.)

It’s funny, because I’m not keen on grey skies or rain — give me sunshine any day. (Though I quite like snow, if it’s not accompanied by too much wind or cold. (Famous last words. It hasn’t snowed here yet this season.)) I was not impressed to discover, in Ireland, a sort of arrested rain, where the cold air was so heavy with water that you’d get wet walking through it. But fog…ah, fog is another matter.

Fog makes everything mysterious and otherworldly, no matter how mundane it really is. Waiting for a bus in suburbia suddenly becomes magical when the road disappears in the mist…after all, that road could lead anywhere. (Same reason I love roads that bend, especially in forests.) Headlights appear before cars are visible. The suburb opposite the bus stop disappears altogether, leaving only me and the bus shelter and the little bit of the road in front.

Roman baths in Bath

Okay, technically that’s steam from the hot springs in Bath, England, but it’s so atmospheric! | Copyright Siri Paulson, 2007

Fog transports me to other times and places — coastal cities where foghorns blow and lighthouses shine, Victorian London with all the gas-lamps lit, mysterious moors, forests that never existed. It highlights distances, how this tree is sharper and therefore closer than that tree, in a way that sunlight cannot. It softens and obscures the harsh edges of the real world, and lets in possibility and mystery.

Over to you! Do you like fog? What’s your favourite kind of weather?

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