There’s a story that people around here tell about how the local airport was built during WW II to train American pilots how to land and take off in the fog in the event they had to fly out of England. The spot was picked because the fog was so dependable. I don’t know if this story is true but it is true that the fog is dependable. It’s also varied. If someone came up with words to describe the different kinds of fog – snaking along the ground, catching in trees, or standing as a wall – the North Coast would have as large a vocabulary for fog as the Inuit have for snow.
But walking along the surf’s edge, none of this really makes any difference. The impact of such a shroud is so immediate that it requires no back-story. There is no horizon, visibility is reduced to less than 50 meters, and the gray-green color of fog and water mimic one another. The hiss of the surf is muted, no birds cry. There is the feel of bare feet on wet sand and the slow accumulation of moisture in my hair and on my body. It’s as if the fog is pushing back on my senses, nudging me to stay closer to my body.
Suddenly there is an invitation to step away from this closing in: thoughts. Oh, how interesting and different from yesterday I wonder if the El Nino is having an effect on the amount of fog we’re getting? I wonder….. but I step out of that thought stream and return to watching and stepping. Stepping and noticing. And then I notice that I have forgiven myself for something. Or maybe I’ve forgiven someone else for something. I don’t think it matters. There’s just the feeling of having put something down, of having a lighter load, of an unfurling of sorts. As my head goes back in a chuckle, I notice the strong glow of the sun above me. I stop and just gaze. The sun gently and firmly embeds a reflection of itself in my core. Any consideration of when the fog might burn off disappears.