The World in White
I’ve always loved fog. You have to, if you’re going to enjoy life in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where I spent most of twenty years. Then, as now, I lived atop a hill. Autumn mornings often found our house perched upon a sunlit island with a sea of mist spread out below, pierced here and there by a shark fin of towering evergreen.
Our latest fog at In the Night Farm was accompanied by freezing temperatures that lingered for days and turned the world white with hoarfrost. Every branch and wire bristled with shards of ice, and seedheads drooped beneath the added weight.
I rode twenty miles on Sunday, shrouded in goretex and fleece and stillness. Aaruba’s boots muffled his hoofbeats on the gravel. An occasional train whistle echoed weirdly. Unseen dogs barked from afar. Hardly a car passed. No one stirred outside the farmhouses whose yellow interiors glowed like nebulas in the mist.
I’ve lately been enraptured by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. It was easy, out there on the lonesome roads, to squint into the pale diffusion of daylight and believe in English soldiers on the moor near Culloden; to grip the reins, afraid; to take a ragged breath and canter on with ghosts in chill pursuit.
This is what I love about fog: It is imagination made tangible, vapor cupped in gentle hands, the world concealed, the mind released.
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