Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Little Cat Feet

"The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches
 and then moves on"
Carl Sandburg

 After hearing that line of poetry as a child, I've never failed to think of it again when I'm walking in the fog. It describes the scene perfectly: quiet, even a little sinister. What lies just beyond vision?
 Even as I crawled out of bed this morning, I saw that the sky was unusually dark. I parted the white curtain at the head of my bed and looked over the soybean field to our east. It was enveloped in a thick fog; gradually the beans disappearing from view. When I went outside at about 8 a.m., the fog had grown thicker and when I finished my morning chores, I took a walk back Sam's lane. I was soon wrapped in the blanket of white. It was as though I had stepped into an insulated booth. Both my vision contracted and distant sounds became muffled and lost. I was alone on the long lane.
 As I neared Sam's house, a clump of trees began to lift through the fog. Where I had only soybeans at my side, dark shapes began to poke through the cloud ahead.

 The lane is on the left with Sam's farm house just beyond and the fog begins giving up a few shapes as I near. The trees, when I am at last beneath them, drip as though it has rained. But the sky overhead is a gray-blue and there's not a cloud in the sky. They are all on the ground.
 It is in the mid-40's and dead calm and the falling temperature overnight and the rain of days past, conspired to raise the relative humidity to saturation. While we slept, we became wrapped in this shroud. It is though the world whispered "shhhh".

 Then, turning towards home, there's the rear of our property, lined with trees. Pinehaven is within the right quarter of the frame, still nestled in fog, beyond view.
 It is not a good morning to be on the roads though the school bus passed our house on schedule. An occasional car threads its way down Clayton Road and the workday begins. Mine awaits, too. But my job today is mowing the yard and it is blessedly wet and safe for hours from my labor. I'll take the morning off and watch the fog burn off, listen for those little cat feet retreating silently.