Edge of the World – Next Light

That’s what the sign should have read Thursday morning. I got to the edge of town and faced a white wall. Once past the last stoplight, the world disappeared into fog. It wasn’t as thick as earlier this fall, where I could not see more than five feet ahead of the truck (and where having the “Kyrie” being sung to the Barbor Adagio is not conducive to peace of mind . . .) but it was distinctly odd. One minute there’s a world and lights and civilization of sorts, and then foomp! Grey-white and only hints of the possibility of something beyond the edges of the road.

We’d had just enough moisture overnight to cool the ground, where it wasn’t paved. My part of town has a relatively large amount of greenery compared to blacktop, and we had some mist and heavy dew, but not the wall-o-fog. As I headed west, the sky overhead stayed clear, and even the big part didn’t show much mist or fog. It lurked, waiting, “something lost beyond the streetlights” to paraphrase Kipling.

The fog hugged the land, only twenty or so feet thick, a white blanket over the world. It pooled more heavily over the now-dry lakebeds, snagged in the tall grasses and water plants. The fog’s texture appeared different, denser than just “fog,” as if I would touch something tangible should I park the truck and get out and pet the air. Even as I drove, the mist thinned here and there, allowing glimpses of fast-moving red tail lights on the distant interstate and on county roads. I heard a few western meadowlarks calling in the damp quiet, but no birds took wing.

Anything could have been in the fog. Had I caught sight of a herd of shadowy bison grazing in a playa, or seen other phantoms of the past, it would not have surprised me. By the time I got to St. Angus in the Grass School, the eastern sun threw rose and crimson over the mist, while streaks of gold rose over the world.

Some mornings are like that.

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8 thoughts on “Edge of the World – Next Light

  1. I went to elementary school in California. In the winter the fog would roll in, until you couldn’t see across the street. Walking to school was an adventure. Anything could appear . . . a dinosaur . . . Narnia . . .

    • One December I drove to Yosemite across the Central Valley. Just outside of Escalon, the fog was thick enough that I opened my window and drove at 10 mph. No other fools intrepid souls were on the road, so driving by ear was successful. Visibility was about 10 feet. On really rare occasions, it would be nearly as bad in Santa Clara. If you knew where to look, you could see the traffic signal. Maybe. Made for a couple of interesting commutes.

  2. Been in a few fogs or heavy rain/mist combinations like that; they’re all unnerving because of the sensory cutoff. Where/when I had the choice, I just waited for it to lift. On a couple extreme days, lift meant mid-afternoon. And all that time, I’m trying to recall “light” music or silly tunes – anything but Goth or related dark music, because of lurking shadows in the misty folds. You don’t want your imagination calling something out of vapor.

    • No. I was very, very happy to turn into the parking lot at Day Job on that dark, foggy morning last month. Even then, walking across the pave, I felt very alone and very apprehensive of what might be Out There.

  3. Larry Niven’s story titled IIRC “On A Foggy Night” has the main character walking home on a Foggy Night and finding himself in an alternate Earth. While he survives and makes a good living, he doesn’t walk anywhere on a Foggy Night. 😉

  4. That kind of weather can be unsettling, as mentioned above.
    I was on a road last week that is pretty empty to start with. Even with only distant fog, for a while my whole world was road and sagebrush.

  5. Hwy 49 from Hattiesburg to Mobile in the middle of winter. The ‘fog’ came in and out randomly. Never saw another car for almost 60 miles of two lane highway. To this day, even just writing that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up… Eerie is NOT the word for that trip.

  6. Despite living in England for almost 5 years the thickest fog I have been in was at Vandenberg AFB. Could not see 10 ft. Trivia, Vandenberg was also where portions of the movie “The Fog” was filmed.
    As far as Autumn is concerned I think the light is more ethereal than it is in other seasons. It is very appealing to me, I like just about everything about Fall…well except for frozen pine needles in intersections, those can go away.

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