1/14/2006

Fog, Comes on little cat feet

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


Ah, why this entry on fog and this poem? Well, as a 'Life in France' blog entry, I thought it almost appropriate. Almost, you ask? Yes, the thing is that sometimes it does come on little cat feet and then moves on.

That is, if you live in San Francisco. In western France, on the boarder between the North and the South, Coulonges sur l'Autize sits approximately 67 km from the Atlantic Coast. Just close enough that you can get to the beach in less than an hour. Just far enough away to not command beachfront prices.

It's in the Deux Sèvres, kind of 'hick country' or peasant country, if you prefer. Farm country. True inhabitants speak a dialect. So what does all this have to do with fog. Well, around here, we get a lot of it. But our fog is not like the fog in Sandburg's poem. It doesn't sit for short bouts of time and then move on.

Nope. Take this past week for example and thus the inspiration for this entry. The Fog moved in sometime in the night (as it is prone to do around here) not in the rolling fashion like in San Francisco or in a Sherlock Holms novel, but in a stealthy cat-like approach, on little cat feet. It just creeps up, and before you know it, it's foggy.

Enter Poem

Here in the Coulonges area, it doesn't quite sit on its haunches, looking over harbor and city. First of all, population being 2200, it's a town, un bourg, a village, but not a city. Secondly, we're sitting 40-some miles in from the coast, so no harbor. (The Autize is a glorified steam, nothing bigger than a canoe can navigate its dicey waters.) No, when fog moves in around here, I think it kind of rolls over and plays dead for about 4-5 days and then moves on. Usually being chased away by the sun's somewhat persistent rays in late afternoon.

Enter My Experience with Fog

The thing is, fog is foreign to me. I associate it with places like San Francisco and London. Not Charleston, WV where I grew up. Nope, not lots of fog there. And, if we do get it, it’s not the stay-the-entire-week variety either. But fog is very much apart of the French countryside. At least in the part of the countryside where I live. It’s a regular occurrence. So when we wake up over here to a white winter morning, its fog not snow. Having it around for an entire week is like having your head stuck in the clouds. Not the expected feeling normally associated with having one’s head stuck in the clouds. It’s quite desensitizing, really. It’s all white. White to the left. White to right. White up ahead, white in the rear view mirror.

I took a picture of it. Here it is:









(LOL)

Enter This Past Week

This past Tuesday morning was no exception, a morning of darkness that barely lightened to pearl gray by 9 am. The fog had come during the night and spread itself think and evenly over ground and city. I knew it wasn't mist because
a) it was thick as pea soup and
b) it didn't change in appearance throughout the day or that night.

I drove to work that morning at a slower pace, dulled by the whiteness that had engulfed the fields, the trees and even the cars driving directly in front of and behind me. Kind of cool in the early part of the morning.

That night, I blinded myself on my return, the darkness being quite complete out in the countryside and forcing me to use my headlights. The fog worked its great wonders and ate up the road 20 feet in front of me. Use of the high beams to see the next curve in the road rebounded off the white and that is when the blindness set in. Slow return home. Concentration maximum on the red dots in front of me, a.k.a. the car just up ahead. We don't want to have a car pile up on the country road, now do we? Especially if we are an insurance agent and have to pay for all that damage!

Enter My New Perception on Fog

For me, fog at night makes a cozy atmosphere. When you look out the window, the streetlights have a fuzzy, hazy look to them reminding you that it's a great to be inside a warm house where a delicious meal is simmering on the stove. (Yeah, I know, I always bring it back to food. Well, what did you expect, I DO live in France you know, culinary capitol of the world!)

Wednesday morning was another serving of the thick-as-pea-soup-fog. Weather conditions were no better that night. Nor Thursday or Friday morning. Since I had to replace my colleague at work, full time, this week, I got to get my fill of morning, afternoon and even evening fog. Since I got to stare at it some much on my 20 minute drives, my thoughts centered around it.

My morning conversations with myself in the car (similar to others I’ve had over the past 12 years when driving in the fog in France) consisted of repeating things like, "Boy, it really is as thick as pea soup!" or ‘Fog comes on little car feet....--what is the rest of that poem...”and then moves on.’ Well it hasn't moved on yet, has it?!"

I learned that poem in 3rd grade when I had to find a poem and memorize it for school. I chose that one because it was only two lines! You'd think that I could remember the entire two-liner, but no, over the years, it wore off into just "Fog comes on little cat feet... then moves on." Shows you what kind of student I was, doesn't it?
little cat feet... then moves on." Shows you what kind of student I was, doesn't it?

Enter Conclusion

It did finally move on, late Friday morning when the sun’s rays grew stronger. Fog all day long can be quite bleak. But I have to accept it as a part of French life. It’s not that bad in the mornings and at night (when you’re not driving). But don’t use your high beams if your eyes are super sensitive at night. And after you’ve been in it for several days, you’ll have a different view point of having your heads in the clouds and pea soup.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Alison said...

Yer not supposed to use your high beams in the fog at all, dontcha know? Nor in the rain.

:)

Little cat feet, huh?

11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Yeah well, the high beams, it's a live and learn kind of thing. Without them, you can't see 10 feet in front of you. With them, you still can't see 10 feet in front of you, but somehow you feel just slightly better.

10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello
First of all
I am Hasine Sen.bitch who is a assistan doc doctor in the univercity of google.
You can look at my profile in
Anyway

To comment on this poem, I would like to say that the fog is asreal who comes smoothly under the umbrella of holiness.

My life oooh life
Stigger
you you are not me...

Anyway man
Louder and louder there comes the voice of death, the lights out, the sun sets and then born again
the fog cries,and a tram passes through the fog in fron of the faculty of google where I am a doctor.
Yes I am a doctor, After I tell how I become a doctor, you will decide that I am not mad, yes The eyes, Mr. bebe was handsome but his four eyes which killed me,which caused to me to get bad marks from a fucking teacher

Annabelleee bellee bellii

8:45:00 PM  

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