Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another f-word - fog!

Thank you all for the many interesting and thoughtful comments on my last post.  I truly enjoyed reading each one of them, and I wrote back to everyone for whom I have an email address (I think one of the best bits about writing a blog is the follow-up conversations).  (And Polly - thanks for sending your students this way; if any of them want to comment, they should please feel free, and/or they are welcome to send me an email.  I wonder if it mightn't be a thought to have our classes have a virtual conversation sometime?  I'd love to know more about your class!)

But in the meantime, today I finally got a bit of another of my favorite f-words - fog.  I really, really love fog, and I have been lamenting the total lack thereof around here.  While the East Coast was getting slammed with Sandy (I hope everyone back there has come through the storm with a minimum of damage, and that you and your loved ones are all safe), we got Santa Anas.  Not nearly so frightening (unless they come with fires, but this time we got lucky), but it does mean wild temperature swings and very very dry air, all of which makes me cranky.  (There's just something weird about going to swim at 6:15, when it's 48 degrees - outdoor pool, btw - and then, by noon, it's 78+ degrees, and the air conditioning is blasting in the building.  Dudes, how do you even dress for that?)(OK, I know the answer - layers.)

But this morning when I woke up, the world was blanketed in fog.  Tilly and I went for our weekly walk at our local open space, about which I've written before, and today it was a new and mysterious world.
I had already determined to try to add another leg onto my usual walk, and I found myself utterly disoriented in the fog.  This little open space is usually dominated visually by what everyone calls "the mountain" (not a mountain) - an old volcanic core that sits in the middle of a network of trails like the one in that picture.  And I couldn't see it at all - it was invisible in the fog.  I wandered along my path, utterly sure that I knew exactly where I was, until I came out in a place that didn't seem familiar at all.  It took me a long moment to realize that I was back where I'd started, heading for the creek crossing from the other direction - everything looked weirdly familiar and utterly strange at the same time.  There's a metaphor in there somewhere, I'm sure.
It's funny how the fog, by blocking those eye-catching long views, calls attention to the immediate and intimate.  Bird-song and laughter were all there to hear, even when the noise-makers were invisible.  I could smell the rotting tules - the water levels are low, and it's that time of year.  Would I notice that, if I could see the ocean in the distance?
And there were beautifully skeletal plants, reminding me that it's Samhain - time to step back and notice that the world is turning again, heading for the dark time, when things rest quietly, when decay makes room for new growth in the spring.
This always feels to me like it should a quiet, contemplative moment in the year's cycle - odd, as it comes right as everyone seems to be gearing up for holiday madness (already!), and I find myself wanting to sit, just quietly, rather like Ferdinand in his field, contemplating the cyclic nature of change.  Somehow this time of the year, my motto goes from being "You can't win for trying", to "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose."  (I should note that, in this mood, I tend not to mean it in its wry sense, but instead in the sense that, underneath all the hubbub and busyness and surface changes that catch our eyes from day to day, there is a deeper, longer stillness and coming-around-again that I find comforting.)

I'm knitting some things that feel like foggy weather does to me, too, appropriately enough.  I've finished the body of the Wine Dark Sea II sweater (I'm wearing the old, baggy, comfy one today).
I'm worried that it might be too short, so I'm blocking it, to find out for sure.  If it is, I'm going to rip it back and add a few inches.  I really want to get this one exactly right.  I am, though, very happy with the neckline shaping - I never seem to get v-necks right, but this one fits just the way I wanted it to.
The edging has turned out well, too!

And I'm working on a new pair of socks.  (As a quick update, I turned the heel on the Silk Road socks, only to find out that I'd made an assumption - and you know what they say about assumptions - that was wrong.  So some ripping back is in order.  More on that next time.)
These are, I think, going to be part of a series of socks that I'm calling in my head Longjohns Socks.  Basically, what I wanted from these is a pair of socks that feel like pulling on longjohns - warm and comfy and comforting.  They're knitted from the toe up, so as not to waste an inch of this yarn (Zen Yarn Garden cashmere sock), with my happy bottom-of-the-foot eye-of-partridge heel flap, and, for this pair, a double moss stitch leg.  I've found a couple of other stitch patterns that I think would suit themselves to this kind of sock, so I'll probably knit another few pairs in the series, with some of the "luxury" skeins of sock yarn that I've stashed away for "special".  I might even write these up and put them on Ravelry - do you think this is the sort of thing more people than I would like?

I should mention that this mid-week post came courtesy of a weekend working in Northern California (language revitalization trainings) last weekend, and another trip to Tehachapi this coming weekend.  I tend not to have much energy for posting when I travel that much, so I thought I'd better grab the chance while I could.  So I probably won't post again until mid-next week at the soonest.  In the meantime, I wish you all a contemplative Samhain.


Wanderingcatstudio said...

Love the yarns in both your knitted projects!

Jane said...

It's a great edging, hope it's long enough so you get to wear it soon.
We get lots of fog here at this time of year, it really does make things look so different. As we're at the top of a hill, we quite often drive a short distance downhill and drop below the cloud

Lynne said...

Ah, fog. We've had some lately as the still cool evenings burn off to warm sunny days -- spring in all it's gorgeousness. But we are also working up to summer with temperatures over 90*F yesterday and today. A cool change tonight, cooler temperatures tomorrow and the whole cycle begins again. I think cycles bring us comfort because we are reminded that what we are experiencing is temporary and that more favourable conditions will return -- in nature and in life itself!

twinsetellen said...

Thank you for the Samhain greeting. I've been caught up in the Midwest meaning of Hallowe'en, which while fun does not honor the contemplative and awe filled nature of the originating holiday. Just before bed, you've brought me to a more sacred space. Thanks.

And thanks for sending me to look up "tules" and finding that Tulare, where I have traveled many times for work, was named for this bulrush.

I, too, love the fog, except when I am driving. It sounds like it can be challenging when walking, too, but also charming.

Anonymous said...

Yes, write up and publish the sock patterns! :) I've yet to do a eye-of-partridge heel.

There's some special about meandering in fog, though it's the pits to drive in.

This should be a slow, contemplative season of the year.

Brandi Schoch said...

I love your fog photos really is pretty amazing even if we know scientifically how it happens. Kinda like rainbows we know how they occur but they still seem magical.

Willow said...

Ah yes, fog. I too am a fan of occasional fog. I do not like daily fog.
It seems I missed a post--I'll go check it out.

EGunn said...

I love fog! Especially the kind that comes laden with the smell of the sea. This time of year is always a tucking in time, a planning ahead time, and a stop and reflect time for me. I like the darkening and the drawing in, feeling the seasons shift, and knowing that spring is coming soon. (I didn't blog it, but I planted something like 250 bulbs in our front yard a couple of weeks ago!)

The celtic (I assume?) word for it is lovely, too. I love how it feels to say samhain. =)