Story last updated at 9/16/2009 - 11:50 am
I spent last week visiting family down south, where the weather was mostly 80 degrees and sunny, and I heard I missed some blustery fall days around here. But how lovely to take a walk before returning to the office Monday morning and delight in my favorite weather condition of all: fog.
This time of year we often get foggy mornings that yield to clear, sunny afternoons. With the sun out, the days are cool and crisp enough to remind us that winter is coming, yet still warm enough for a picnic lunch. As wonderful as sunny fall days are, I somehow prefer the foggy mornings that precede them. Fog invokes feelings of mystery, of adventure, of uncertainty. Familiar landmarks are obscured and we can feel the thrill of the unknown even in our hometowns.
And yet, this thrill comes with the comfort that the fog will most likely lift, revealing a beautiful day. As such, fog inspires optimism. Unlike sucker holes, which tease us with glimpses of blue sky and then close back up, when we catch a bit of blue behind fog, we have good reason to believe we'll be seeing more of it.
We often bemoan the low-lying rain clouds that obscure our mountains for days on end this time of year. Who can tell when they'll lift? Our experiences tell us not to get our hopes up. But with fog, our experience lets us get our hopes up - a rarity when it comes to weather - and we're not often disappointed.
If fog stayed with us for days on end, never lifting, would we like it as much? I think we can revel in fog precisely because we know it will lift.
In a similar way, we like puzzles and mystery stories in large part because we know there's a solution. What fun would Sudoku or crossword puzzles be if we weren't sure that someone - not even necessarily us, but someone - could solve them?
For those of us who spend so many of our days with unpredictable weather, dealing with problems in life we're unsure how to solve, it can be strangely comforting to have fog we know will lift.
Katie Spielberger is the managing editor of the Capital City Weekly. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org