24 March 2007
The fog comes/ on little cat feet
-- Carl Sandberg
Sandberg was correct: fog can be stealthy, like a cat, quietly moving in, hovering for a short time, then, uninterested, moving on. But not always.
The fog this evening came with the roar of the flooded creek, as if the sound of the rushing water was made as the stream released molecules into the air. Freed by the transformation, the fog kept up with the water's flow, tumbling downstream, swirling around the branches in counterpart to the water's eddies around the lower trunks. Elsewhere, in small, quieter pools on newly swamped banks, it lingered, hovering over loose leaves and branches, beer bottles, an old shoe, and other detritus loosened from the mud to be cast ashore further downstream.
I was standing on my drive, looking at the daffodil blooms, recent additions with the warmer weather, when I looked south across the road. At first I thought there was a fire in the woods, that the fog was smoke billowing along the greenway trail. As I hurried towards it, I realized that it was both to the east and the west in thick patches that obscured the road. As I neared the banks I realized that much of the trail was underwater and that the creek -- in summer shallow and calm enough to cross by stepping on a few large rocks -- had breached its banks and was almost to the road.
I sat on a portion of the trail still above the water's edge, but close enough to feel that it was just a little dangerous. A misplaced foot in the mud might have landed me too close to the water, but I not only wanted to snap these photos, but also to feel the power of the water flowing quickly. An out-of-place, bright orange construction fence, not removed after the trail was completed in late fall, was the only marker of where the bank usually is. A pair of ducks stood on a narrow hump of land around a tree. The female was distressed. Her nest, once thought safe near the tree, must have been underwater. As a new batch of fog neared me, I could feel the change in the air temperature. The cloud was preceded by an earthy smell of mud, fish, water. My skin tingled as the fog surrounded me on its journey downstream. I was awed by this phenomena of nature, refreshing as being caught in a sudden summer storm.
"Water is the most corrosive element there is," a plumber told me once. At the time, I didn't understand the wonder in his statement.
Corrosive. Powerful. Swift. Awesome.