Thursday, October 13, 2011


The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg.

I adore this poem.  Adore it I tell you.  And today it is perfectly fitting for my drive to work.  I thought I knew what fog was when I grew up in Northeast, Ohio.  Then one morning in college I got up to go to class, walked out of my dorm and couldn't see my hand in front of my face.  I could hear other students walking around our Northwestern Ohio campus.  Could sense there were buildings close by.  Yet the fog was so thick my hair was soaked in my short walk, I felt completely disoriented and isolated.  And that was in town.  When I started working as a teacher here, driving my way to work across farm fields and rural communities, I earned an entirely new appreciation for fog delays.  I have had mornings where I drove to work, my low beams on, my window down at rail crossings, and every finger and toe crossed for luck.  It makes you feel that at any moment you will drive off a cliff, because the road simply disappears before your eyes.  Then suddenly "poof!" the fog lifts and your eyes are as clear as day.  Or you are in the clear and you see it lurking down the road ahead.  Knowing that you are about to be blinded. 

I remember reading Sandburg's poem in my high school American Literature class and loving it.  I'm a sucker for poems that are simple, paint a vivid image, and move on.  His does that.  I could sit in that image for hours.  Yet I never truly appreciated it until adulthood.  But here in our neck of the woods sometimes fog doesn't come on little cat feet.  No, it is more like a thundering herd.  One that suddenly got exhausted and parks on you for a long nap.