Pruina Indulgence

It’s not that the only thing in life is hoarfrost and fog. I know that. It’s just that hoarfrost and and fog are a big part of my own life right now.

If Wikipedia is to be trusted, hoarfrost is one of many types of frost, and the name “hoar comes from an Old English adjective for showing signs of old age, and is used in this context in reference to the frost which makes trees and bushes look like white hair.”

Maybe.13120005I went on a run yesterday, my first in a couple of weeks. Between being down with a tenacious cold, and the danger of running on country roads in thick fog, I’ve been keeping close to home.13120013The sun deigned to show itself at our altitude yesterday, if only for a couple of hours, and I ventured out, wrapped in numerous layers of hi-tech running gear in bright, visible colors (just in case the fog should suddenly ascend).

The fog line on the other side of the field, obscuring the view of Lake Geneva.

The fog line on the other side of the frost-coated field, obscuring the view of Lake Geneva.

I hadn’t brought my camera because I meant to actually run. But it ended up being less of a run and more of a stroll of wonder, smartphone out and at the ready.13120015Firstly, because the sunshine was so unaccustomed after almost two weeks of a thick grey blanket.

Secondly because it remained cold enough for the hoarfrost to stay intact.

Again, Wikipedia: Hoarfrost (also known as ‘pruina’) is composed of ice crystals “that form on cold clear nights when heat is lost into the open sky causing objects to become colder than the surrounding air.”13120030The moment has passed, the fog has returned, but for a short time yesterday, every aspect was one of stunning clarity.

Sea of Sun

Sea of fog, Geneva basin Image via Monts Jura live web cam (Crozet)

Sea of fog, Geneva basin
Image via Monts Jura live web cam (Crozet)

Yesterday I posted images of atmospheric life at our altitude, all fog and frost.

Today, this is the view from several hundred meters above our heads, taken from a ski station web cam that’s twenty minutes from our place. The view is out over Lake Geneva, with the Alps in the distance. All of the Pays-de-Gex and Geneva, including our village, is beneath that white sea.

It’s comforting to know the sun is right there, if we feel the need to go visit.

Frosted Fig

Last week, I went for a short walk in the late afternoon. It was sunny, and although it wasn’t warm, it was tolerably above zero.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read

Then the temperature plunged, and the first real winter fog of the season settled in.

I’m fortunate in that I don’t mind fog. Probably because I grew up along the notoriously foggy coastline of northern California.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read

It’s not pleasant to drive in, but otherwise, I find it a more comforting and comfortable weather condition than, say, sheets of rain or hip-deep snow.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read

Many in the Lake Geneva area succumb to gloomy moods during our long foggy sessions, which can last for weeks. I took most of these photos early this morning. The fog had thinned a bit, allowing a much longer view than I’ve seen in days. I can even see the roofs of neighboring houses.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read

The garden has gone into sugar-frosted glory. The fog itself floats in tiny crystals, and after three days of this, the layers of fine ice have become thick and heavy.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read

In a pinch, though, there’s always a simple solution to escape the fog: A half-hour drive up into the Jura, above the fog line. Our village is at an altitude of around 1500 ft (470 m), and I can often see a tinge of blue above, where the blanket of fog stops and sunshine begins.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read

Every so often, the lower part of our road will be in the fog, while we look out across a sunny sea of white. Not today, though. And probably not this week.

This is the week an ambitious patio dandelion thought it had one last chance at seeding out before winter. It didn’t.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read



Seasonal Calendar

On an evening run last night, the sky was blazing while the meadows and paths held strange flying carpets of white. 13100060

Autumn is creeping in, leaving the first tentative misty patches at ground level before the great fogs of winter settle over the Lake Geneva basin. 13100056

Time to prepare for the upcoming season. And so I ordered my Whisky Advent Calendar 2013 for this year. There are two versions, ‘regular’ and ‘premium’. the-whisky-advent-calendar

Yes, I cheated and took a peek at the the contents of the ‘regular’ set of 24 little bottles, and was satisfied enough that I ordered that rather than the more expensive ‘premium’. After all, I’d like to try drams of whiskies I could conceivably afford to buy should I take a fancy to one. A friend ordered the ‘premium’, and I look forward to her detailed reports and recommendations.

But mostly, I look forward to sharing the 24 Advent drams with my husband over the course of a December that will hopefully be filled with more blazing skies than thick layers of fog.

I ordered my calendar here.  There is also a Gin Advent Calendar, as well.

A little autumn music for the season: