Thrashing in a pile of work – a university program report that’s overdue, a book review (also overdue), two papers I’m writing with colleagues, a presentation for new grant funders to prepare, and a class to teach – I had plans for just a quick early morning bike ride this morning. But as my bike trail dropped down to Albuquerque’s valley floor, I saw the fog.
I have lived longer in Albuquerque than Southern California, the land of my birth. But Southern California came first. And so on those rare days when we have fog in Albuquerque, I am wistful, reminded of the magic of the fogs of my childhood. It encloses you gently, the fog, erasing things, telling you there are things you’ve no need to see, or know.
I headed out across the river, watching the Rio Grande disappear in the mist. Down back roads and dirt paths I’ve ridden a dozen times in daylight I became delightfully lost, more than once. My glasses fogged and I let them, the fog doing double work. As I dropped back down from the west mesa, toward the river again, the sun came close to burning through the fog, so I looked for the places it remained thickest and rode toward them.
When I was a teenager in the suburbs east of Los Angeles, we would drive to Chino, our valley’s low spot, when it still had dairies, was the place most likely to have fog. There was a story whispered from older brothers and sisters about the mystery of “the green mist”, and we weren’t quite what it was or why we were looking for it.
Just fog, I guess, but in retrospect that is probably enough.