Foggy year

A selection of Morning Porch tweets from 2007-2010, arranged into a single year.

Jan 6
Dripping fog, the snow reduced to patches. Mating season has come for the great-horned owls calling in the distance, one high, one low.

Jan 17
Fog. A distant chainsaw in one direction and in the other, rodent teeth. Amorous squirrels race back and forth over the white ground.

Jan 25
Twelve hours of downpour and the stream’s a torrent, water clear from running off frozen ground. Small clouds rise like spirits from the snow.

Feb 6
Ground-level clouds appear and disappear in the half-dark; even the thermometer is fogged up. Over the roar of the stream, a robin’s song.

Feb 11
Fog drifts through the woods where rain has reduced the snow to archipelagos. Overhead the clouds, too, are breaking up. Low-flying geese.

Feb 23
Thick fog prolongs the early-morning light for hours. The cardinal sings spring while a screech owl quavers over the luminous snow.

Mar 4
Rain and fog. A robin drops into the barberry bush, tut-tutting. Up in the woods, two deer stand with their heads buried in the soft snow.

Mar 18
Bluebird, white-throated sparrow, a starling’s liquid note, and high overhead, a kildeer: the sky must be blue above the fog.

Mar 19
Hours of hard rain have brought out the green in tree trunks and branches, in laurel leaves, in moss. Even the fog has a slight green cast.

Mar 28
Thick fog blanks everything but the noise from the highway—this could be New Jersey. Rain beads on the branches of the ornamental cherry.

Mar 29
When the sun finally breaches the fog, the forest drips with jewels. In the yard, the first native wildflower opens its pin-sized blooms.

Apr 4
Somewhere in the fog, a red-winged blackbird, a pair of mourning doves, a robin, a flock of finches. Half an hour later, nothing but rain.

Apr 14
Thick ground fog, one degree below freezing. The trees grow sharper as the sun begins to blur. Please don’t flower yet, I tell the oaks.

Apr 25
Sometime past 7:30, the birds fall silent for half a minute and there’s only fog, a slow drip from leaves no larger than squirrels’ ears.

May 6
The gray winter pelts of two grazing deer are just beginning to fray. The fog withdraws into the woods and the webs of grass spiders.

May 15
Sun through fog. Animals emerge and vanish like actors in a play, bringing their cries and silences: goldfinches, a raven, a pair of deer.

May 27
Fog. The ants who tend the peony buds have been replaced by drops of water—all but one, who moves slow as an astronaut on a strange planet.

May 28
Pale bones of the dead elm, standing at the edge of the yard like an emissary from Lent amidst a Mardi Gras of green, reach into fog.

Jun 4
Foggy morning. A short-lived bright period brings a faint sound of traffic from I-99. I hear the hummingbird’s small motor in the garden.

Jul 8
The little wood satyr I first spotted yesterday flutters up from the side garden, yellow-rimmed eyespots like dim headlights in the fog.

Jul 9
Thin fog in the corner of the field. A Cooper’s hawk fledgling responds to its parent, a hot cry, a knife cry, a glossy cry, a soul cry.

Aug 1
I watch a yellow black walnut leaf flutter to the ground. Autumn’s in the air. Fog persists most of the morning, lit up from above.

Aug 14
Thin fog. Now that the phoebes have left, their shy cousins the pewees have come out of the woods, and herald each sunrise in a slow drawl.

Aug 17
Dawn fog lifts and pauses, so it’s clear to a height of ten feet, then white, then the crescent moon. A red-bellied woodpecker’s slow chant.

Aug 20
The fog reveals as much as it hides. Who knew the trees held so many spiderwebs? The birds are mostly quiet now; it’s cricket spring.

Aug 29
Rain and fog. Nuthatches, a wood pewee, the liquid song of a winter wren. Behind me, loud thumps from some large animal under the house.

Aug 30
Out of the darkness and fog before dawn, a sudden yelp. Only when it moves farther off am I able to place it: a raccoon. The newest tenant.

Sep 4
Thin fog at dawn. From the woods’ edge, the familiar two-syllable call of a scarlet tanager sounds suddenly very much like goodbye.

Sep 21
In the pre-dawn, Sunday-morning silence, the distant bellowing of a cow. A half moon glows through the fog—a thin milk.

Sep 27
First one, then a second Carolina wren pops out from under the eaves, perches in the fretwork for a second, and flies off into the fog.

Oct 1
A pileated woodpecker hammers on a dead tree, resonant as it never was in life. I watch ground fog form and dissipate into a clear dawn sky.

Oct 5
Through the darkness and fog, loud thuds from the black walnut trees that encircle the houses, a slow carpet bombing that goes on for weeks.

Nov 12
A pair of ravens fly low over the house, invisible in the fog. I’m lost in thought about trickster gods, and right on cue: Arrk! Arrk! Arrk!

Nov 19
Drizzle turns into downpour and the fog retreats up the ridge. An hour later the rain eases and the fog rolls in again, erasing the trees.

Nov 24
Rain and fog with raven: silent, just above the treetops. White-throated sparrows and a freight train whistling at the same pitch.

Dec 10
Rain and fog. Only the low rumbly sounds break through: a jet, a train. Sitting in the dark, it’s almost possible to believe in isolation.

Dec 23
Thick fog at dawn, gray against the snow. Slate-colored juncos call back and forth: Where are you? A wind comes up.

Dec 27
In the darkness and fog, the sound of slush being punctured and scraped aside. I can just make out the solid shadows, their many thin legs.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

8 Comments


  1. A Hubble-like depth of field, and a great alternative slice. But as always, I long to possess on paper.

    Reply

    1. Eventually there will be some sort of paper publication, I’m sure.

      Reply

  2. I guess fog is one of the things you get for living on a mountain. Think of all the different filters you could use for reviewing a year! Drinking coffee; hawk sighting; breaking things. As always, you are an inspiration.

    Reply

    1. Actually, they have way more foggy mornings in the valley, at least in spring and fall. We probably have them beat for winter fog.

      Yes, I like giving people multiple ways to read through the growing Morning Porch archive. That’s why I’ve been fairly disciplined about tagging posts, even setting up a tag page.

      Reply

  3. “The Many Faces of Faceless Fog: a Facebook.” “Thirteen (or whatever) Ways of Looking at a Fog.” “Foggy Morning Breakdown.”

    Reply

  4. These are terrific! In my most idealistic imagination, I see them in letterpress in a book of handmade papers of various shades of grey, rose, lavender.

    Even with the big river nearby, we get so much less fog here than we did in Vermont, where it clung to the sides of the mountains, damp and thick, from sunset to mid-morning or even longer.

    Reply

    1. I guess the air over cities is different somehow — the heat-island effect must persist much of the night.

      Reply

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