A fog which formed and disappeared within the space of five
minutes a few evenings ago, right at dark
—hence the bluish light.
Since moving to this riverbank, I've become something of a fog connoisseur—that is, I've learned to recognize and appreciate fogs in all their diversity. I'm not just talking the difference between wispy-thin fogs and pea-soup-thick fogs, either. I mean a whole gamut—distinct, dissimilar, ranging in density, apparent color, height, and duration, to name just a few variables.
Does that surprise you, strike you as odd—the notion that not all fogs are alike?
At the most basic definition level, fog is simply a massing of tiny water droplets suspended in the air near the ground. Technically, the only difference between fog, mist, and haze is that fog is denser; the only difference between fog and a cloud is that fog is simply a cloud that touches the ground or, say, the tops of trees. Weather specialists differentiate between fog, mist, and haze on a scale of density based on visibility, plus the difference between mist and haze also compares relative humidity.
Dawn three mornings ago, looking up the hill
toward my neighbor's yard.
Yeah, I know, this scientific hair-splitting is about as interesting as watching eggs coddle. I'm not even going to mention such yawn-inducing matters as condensation nuclei, hygroscopic particles, or thermal radiation. Suffice it to say that most fogs, mists, hazes, and clouds form when the relative humidity is at or near 100 percent. Moisture (humidity) gets added to already damp air, or the air or water suddenly changes temperature—all this revolving around the dew point. Okay, no more weather jargon, I promise.
What I find interesting—and most enjoy—is the look of the fog/mist itself, and the way it changes my view of an otherwise familiar landscape. This has partly to do with how thick or thin the fog is, how high up from the ground or water it extends, and whatever light might happen to be shining through.
The island across from the cottage yesterday morning.
Some fogs are so dense it's like being surrounded by a soggy gray blanket. I can't see the island across from the cottage, and once or twice haven't been able to see the big box elder a dozen feet beyond the front door. Other, thinner fogs only lightly veil the world around. Still other fogs are so thick you think you could walk upon them, completely obliterating whatever is below—usually the surface of the river—yet are only two or three feet high…a puffy, silver-white carpet from bank to bank.
Midday a couple of days ago, when the river
was at it highest; it has since gone down.
Illumination is the real show-stopper. Fogs at dawn might be pink or gold, while those at dusk blue, purple, magenta. The fog might be snowy white, glowing spectrally, like a congregation of ghosts. Or pale yellow-green, like sickly protoplasm in an old 1950s horror flick. I've even seen fogs with swirls of color, caused, I suppose, by the rainbow-like prismatic effects of sunlight shining at the optimum angle through those suspended water droplets.
Some fogs take a long time to form or hang around half the morning; others appear and disappear within a matter of minutes.
Unpredictable, ethereal, spooky, ephemeral, mysterious, mesmerizing. I am indeed a fancier of fogs.