Monday, January 02, 2006

A Foggy New Years

The winter fog rolled in the last few days, usually right at sunset and then left the next day after the sun burned it off. Every once in a while a cool front comes through and blasts the air clean and the process starts over again. Not too many people know that winter fogs are common down here in South Padre Island, since in the summer it is always clear and ninety degrees.

At least it isn’t sea smoke. Sea smoke is when the air is so cold that water evaporating turns into ice crystals – it is more common in arctic conditions but can occasionally be found as low as Delaware Bay here on the US East Coast.

A large ship came into the Port of Brownsville and you know how sound carries in a fog, it sounded like it was right in my driveway. I tried to take some photographs but everything looked like gray pea soup – I guess I don’t have the talent or an expensive camera, one.

It’s funny how the mind remembers sounds like that. I was instantly transported to Block Island, where there were at least three very loud foghorns. While the Northeast does get heavy fog other times of the year, the summertime “pea soup” is more common. So those Block Island sounds were running in my mind, like the higher squeal of the Old Harbor foghorn versus the thundering low resonance of Southeast Point.

My ship sounded its horn again, one second on and 30 seconds off, and I was transported back, feeling like I really missed those forlorn sounds that help people find their way back to safety.

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