Sunday, June 10, 2007

Fog on the Windowsill

I have seen fog slide over the shore and collect in the low spots of the hills, but now I have seen fog creep all the way up to the windowsill. It feels animate and solid as if I might open the window and pat it on its head. It has, after all, followed me around the steading.

When I called the cats back from their wanderings to the cottage for their dinner, it was there swirling above the roof, coy, I thought, out of reach of teeth and claws. It seemed even to have dampened the chorus of crows and swallowed the pesky gull that often hovers above the garden walls.

It very kindly concealed the remnants of the kitchen garden that make me sigh with their incompleteness every time I walk past. It swaddled the new trees planted in the garden struggling in the shadows of their senescent kin. The aspen now has a few green leaves large enough to quake in the protected winds within the walled garden. The anonymous Acer (some form of maple) that I brought home in a styrofoam cup from the stoop of the charity shop has one leaf waving like a miniature Canadian flag in the soft still moist air of the perennial bed it shares with the peonies, lupins, and nettles. The horse chestnut and the alder, too, are holding their own within the protecting walls of the garden--both the walls of stone and of soft moist air.

As with the blanketing fog, I am learning to live with nettles. I have much in common with their nolo tangere attitude, their love of rich dark earth, and their usefulness once you have won through their sting.

Unlike T.S. Eliot's yellow fog for Prufrock*, this fog is the gift of the sea and the lochs and the lochans and the secret rivers of the peat bogs. And so it, too, must be treasured.

*From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. I got this stanza from I have admired this poem and this metaphor since I first met up with it in Miss Bush's English class in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.


At 1:24 AM, Blogger Hayden said...

fog has such a personality - and it varies with season. We live in fog here, too, and treasure the blue sky when it peeps through.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger scorrie said...

nt a picture // fog that thick does sometimes appear tho i doubt if I have ever seen it as you desribe // an d you sure desribe it to purrrrrfection // Joseph is superb too / morris //

At 9:46 AM, Blogger scorrie said...

you sure do paint a picture // fog that thick does sometimes appear tho i doubt if I have ever seen it as you desribe // an d you sure desribe it to purrrrrfection // Joseph is superb too / morris //

At 1:31 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Hayden, it is interesting that tho we have words and personifications for other weather elements, fog seems to stand out in its characterizations as having a consciousness.

At 1:11 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

We just read the Love Song in Book Club. I liked that verse for its description of catlike fog, although someone pointed out it could be a dog too.


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