On Tuesday (12/20/11) we had one of those impressive fogs that obliterates the landscapes, that hides all objects until you are upon them, then allows them to begin a slow materialization, like a ghost, that startles you and sets you to shivering in your tracks.
This lone tree stands beside a field on Manning Road, straddling German Twp. on the south and Jackson Twp. on the north. It is just west of Valley View Pike. It presents a pretty enough picture when the sun is shining and the sky is summer-bright. But on Tuesday as we approached the tree, I could not see it at all until we were nearly there.
You sense an outline first, the merest suggestion of a gathering darkness, and then hazy branches begin to appear and darken. As I approached in the car, the tree quickly resolves and is a startling sight. It is as though something has stepped out of the moors, preying on your unsuspecting carcass.
By noon, after a few drops of rain had fallen, the sky began to clear of the fog and the day returned to normal. Only a few days shy of the winter solstice, it seems unusual to have this summery weather. The next day we hit a high of 60°.
For a landscape that should be enveloped in white, instead we have this pea-soup gray to contend with. We have had none of winter yet, even though the calendar shows it half over. Rather than look forward to the days head, I approach them with some fear. The weather balances out and we've swung so far in one direction that I worry the next swing will be deadly. We will go from gray to white overnight.