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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Monday, July 12, 2010

I can see clearly now

The fog started to lift on Sunday afternoon, leaving just clouds and rain and a very boring World Cup final. Up till then, it had been four days of insularity - no, I take that back: for an hour on Friday the fog moved enough to reveal Sheep Island two miles away, including a thin blue line in the water between the island and the mainland, as if a hole in the clouds were illuminating the "gut," the channel that boats take between Rockland and points south; and for a similar hour on Saturday, it retreated from our shore to hang around the edges of the islands and the points, and the tops of the island firs poked out of the fog as if they were reeds in a lake, and the first floor of the house on Ginn Point was blanketed, but not the second. So for the vast majority of 96 hours, we were bound to short views - a hundred yards at best - and the cool, moist air. This morning we awoke to blue skies and hot air, although fog still sat in the gut for a few hours more, reminding us of its caprice.

We almost always get a foggy stretch like this in early July, as the warm currents coming up from the south hit the cool currents from the north. It's most useful. It means the city is hot, and we're not. It lovingly disrupts air traffic. It prevents chores like mowing and weeding. It clarifies the mind, especially when one has an essay or a story going strong.

Of course we want it eventually to end in a day like today. The phrase "in a fog" is quite descriptive of the dangers of piloting boats or negotiating hangovers, of the boredom of watching TV, of obstruction in the pursuit of fun. But walking in it is other-worldly, and staring into it takes us out of ourselves, and we'll desperately miss it when we have to go back to the city and clearly see again all the distractions in our way.

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