Morning Fog

Foggy Dawn

Today is one of those glorious pea-soup foggy days. I told Asher that some cloud up in the sky was curious about people, and came down to visit. “Look, mama, I can’t see the school!”

I have 35 minutes to myself to get my heart pounding and revel in the quiet. Normally I would hear many birds singing and squirrels barking whenever I passed too closely to their trees. Not today. In the hush of the low-lying mist, even the birds seem to whisper, as though they’re in church.

Perhaps the hundreds of squirrels are all still abed, sleeping in. Perhaps today is a day of rest, even though it’s not marked as such on my calendar. Spiderwebs on hedges are so wet with dew, they are sagging.

I pass a neighbor’s yard. Tiny droplets of water sparkle at the end of pine needle sprays. The closest trees are black against the fog, distant ones are erased in mist. The trees are laid bare, arthritic bones are revealed. And yet, they look lacy against the gray-white sky, as though they’ve put on crocheted gloves over their bony fingertips. Some still sport seed pods or random leaves that forgot to fall. Some are already swelling with buds, as if to proclaim to King Winter, “I am not finished! You will not conquer me.”

No dogs bark at me, even at the home where five of them jealously guard their little patch of Fair Oaks. Their fence sign boasts, “I can make it to the gate in 3 minutes. Can you?” I assume they’re all vying for space near the heating vents and fireside indoors.

I walk down a long straight hill, noticing the deep green of a redwood, the rosy blush of a heavenly bamboo bush. Tiny signs of the coming spring are revealed a bit here, a bit there. I have to look closely for them, and they make me smile. There’s a flowering quince! It’s coral buds are getting fat. Some early blooms are opening nearest the base of the twigs, and they’ll bloom upward like that in a kind of wave. I spy rosemary bushes covered in lavender blossoms. But they’re lonely. No bees serenade them yet. One front yard is graced with a thick ruffle of petite, buttery jonquils.

I notice the squish of my feet as I pass some yards, where the messy autumn leaves are being left to rot. Leaf litter is ground into black muck on the pavement. Some leaves are disintegrating into doilies.

A small flock of Canada geese flies low, making two passes and honking. They are clownish phantoms except when directly overhead. Their monochrome blends into the sky.

I trudge up the hill and come close enough that the garish green fence finally reveals itself. It blinks out of the fog as if someone just turned on the electricity. It is the greenest fence I have ever seen. It is, frankly, impossibly green, and moreover, frankly, I adore it. If it had only stayed plain, showing its natural wood tones, it could have graced a traditional Japanese garden. Happily, its goofy coloring is nowhere near so demure. Happily, it shouts hello to me into the quiet morning.

I round the corner, passing the empty playground. Sometimes little ones with parents are here playing. Not today. Even the beehive in the base of the tree is quiet, seemingly deserted. I hope the bees are inside keeping warm.

There’s something rather Victorian about my neighborhood today. Somehow the fog lends these familiar sights a romance, a mystery. I imagine cobblestones and hoop skirts, and the watery glow of London streetlamps. Where is that piper when I need him?

Houses are storytellers, if you bother to notice the tales they share. Some are old-old, falling mournfully into disrepair or melting into their overgrown yards. Some tell you they are rentals; they seem to say they aren’t one-family homes, but rather they entertain a series of lonely guests year after year. Some homes are elderly men and women, who quite clearly and purposefully look after their health. They take their vitamins and their fiber. They are kept up, wearing nice clothes and dapper roofs. Their neatly trimmed trees and bushes tell you they see the manicurist regularly. Few homes around here are new; they glow with youth like the fresh-faced teens of the neighborhood. Some proudly sport both laugh lines and boob jobs at the same time. These have shiny SUVs in their driveways.

It’s all kind of magical. It’s all ordinary. And since I alone am here to witness it, it’s all mine.

4 Responses to “Morning Fog”

  • Lisa
    January 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Beautiful Sara, so poetic, flowering quince and buttery jonquils! Bobb jobs and laugh lines! Ha! I love it, thank you for the dreamy chuckle.


  • kelly
    January 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    yummy…so nice to sip my early afternoon coffee to as I ready myself to meet face to face with a group of adolescents desperately wanting to know what the other it thinking and wanting to make sense of what lies within them…thank you for this gift today.


  • Sara
    February 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks, Lisa! It was very fun to write in my head as I marched along that morning. Sometimes a story won’t leave you alone until you write it.


  • Sara
    February 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Kelly, you’re still reading me? LOL. Thank you for peering into my dreamy thoughts for the day.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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