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describing the fog

How would you go about describing fog, or kinds of fog? How would you feel about enduring days without sunshine? C. S. Lewis, writing to his brother Warnie in 1932, describes the mists he was experiencing at their home in Oxford (the Kilns). He even seemed to be enjoying the fog! I would love to be as poetically observant about the weather as he was. He writes...

That is a thing you and I have to be thankful for–the fact that we do not only don’t dislike but positively enjoy almost every kind of weather. We had about three days of dense fog here lately. That was enough to tax even my powers of doing without the sun, but though it became oppressive in the end I felt that it was a cheap price to pay for its beauties. 

There was one evening of mist about three feet deep lying on the fields under the moon–like the mist in the first chapter of Phantastes. There was a morning (up in the top wood) of mist pouring along the ground through the fir trees, so thick and visible that it looked tangible as treacle [syrup].

Then there were afternoons of fairly thin, but universal fog, blotting out colour but leaving shapes distinct enough to become generalised–silhouettes revealing (owing to the suppression of detail) all sorts of beauties of grouping that one does not notice on a coloured day. 

Finally, there were days of real fog: days of chaos come again: especially fine at the pond, when the water was only a darker tinge in the fog and the wood on the far side only the ghostliest suggestion: and to hear the scurry of the waterfowl but not to see them.

Not only was it an exciting time in itself but by the contrast has made today even more beautiful than it would have been–a clear, stinging, winter sunshine.

-- From The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume 2, 1931-1949 (HarperOne, 2009).


Above, my photograph of the morning fog at Biltmore Estates a couple of years ago.


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