Flags in the Fog

A storm line rolled through Sunday night- Monday morning, washing my part of town with an inch and a quarter of rain in about two hours or so. It had passed well to the east by 0500 (when the cat woke me up the first time). The dewpoint and the air temperature were both at 54, so fog developed. Very thick fog. Visibility of one half block fog. Which did not stop the people setting out flags for Memorial Day.

I set out for a stroll at 0645. Visibility had improved to one block, with a north wind making the flags slap and flutter. That was all I heard, that and my own steps. The usual dull background rumble of traffic wasn’t audible. Birds fluttered, a very few, but they stayed silent. I had not heard that kind of quiet since the last heavy snow. Normally seven AM means a decent amount of traffic, especially in summer when people are going to work early so they can get done before the day’s heat builds in. Not on a holiday Monday with thick fog and water-logged ground.

The world faded in and out of grey. It was weather to cheer a goth’s heart – dim, misty, quiet, impossible to sunburn in, animals and houses appearing and then disappearing as I passed. I walked from flag to flag, watching them wave in the water-rich air, spots of color on a cloud-dark morning. The air smelled of wet wood and water, clean and rich. One or two cars rumbled past, but that was all. The world was mine, mine and the flags’.

Flags lined the main street through my neighborhood. They also lined side streets, what I could see through the fog. Flag flaps, footsteps, one sleepy bird, a distant dog . . . The rustling pitter of lingering raindrops knocked off of trees by the morning wind. Otherwise quiet, a rare quiet. An appropriate quiet for a dark, somber morning.

By eight, dog walkers had begun emerging, and a few more cars moved, but very few. The usual background noise remained so quiet that I wondered if some of the underpasses had a bit too much water in them, and the police and highway department were diverting traffic. The heavy storms might have kept some people from leaving early, as well, or led them to start long-distance travel later. It was not the morning to be on I-20 between Abilene and Ft. Worth, or I-40 or I-35 anywhere in Oklahoma. Too much red and yellow bloomed on the radar to make driving fun.

My part of the world? Quiet. Resting. In some cases easing out to check the damage and see what the previous two days hail and tornadoes had battered. The rain came hard enough that our roses got stripped of their petals, and many drooped, thin stems bent from water weight. A lot of pollen had washed off the roof, carried a yard and more away from the downspout. Snails crept along, fair game for DadRed and I to send flying into the street or alley. I checked a few plants, tossed a few snails, and observed no new damage to my pickup.


4 thoughts on “Flags in the Fog

  1. We know reality from our perceptions.
    Things that alter our perception, alter our reality, and send us stumbling into Faerie.

    Given the divide between spirits of the dead and fae is fuzzy at best…
    It seems a perfectly appropriate way to start Memorial Day.

    • Larry Niven (IIRC) had a short story where a man stubbled into an alternate world while walking in the Fog. Note, this was after the man had a conversation with another man who was from another world and who also changed worlds on a Foggy Night.

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