View across the fields. Photo: PKR
The past few weeks have been a feast of fog and frost. Thick fog lingers, the moisture freezes to every surface outside, the world is held in suspension…and then a couple of rays of sunshine break through and within minutes, the hard days of frost quite literally evaporate.
I’ve a fondness for this season, a time in our area that finds many of our neighbors in a grey funk due to the lack of sunshine. Lucky me, I like the comforting uniformness of fog. The white ice sculptures that are still trees, blades of grass, fallen leaves make for excellent viewing, appearing as they do like still actors revealed by a slow-moving curtain.
Hoarfrost covers a plant as the sun comes out. Photo: PKR
But what I really like is how transient it is. Back and forth, we drift in and out of cracking white-in-grey days to brilliant sunshine without the deep commitment to winter that will come with the first deep snowfall. There’s nothing transient about two feet of snow, especially once it’s been shoveled from the paths and driveways into large piles. That frozen stuff will stay put for weeks, if not months.
Not this frost, though. It’s quick as a hot breath on a cold window. There just long enough write a quick love note…and gone.
A few minutes pass, and the plant is frost-free. Photo: PKR
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.I 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.The 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 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.Firstly, 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.”The moment has passed, the fog has returned, but for a short time yesterday, every aspect was one of stunning clarity.