Foggy mornings

By Sharon Brown (Sharon) on May 10, 2012

The fog comes on little cat feet with the groundhogs' morning coffee.

There's just something about fog. It blankets the land in a cloud of light gray, it hushes the sounds of the birds. It fuzzes the edges. It's like watching the morning wake up, or the night settle in to soft sleep. 

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"The groundhogs are making coffee this morning," Ninna said as we looked down toward the garden in the very early morning from our perch on the front porch. The garden was nearly invisible, still covered in its soft pearly blanket of fog, steam and smoke from the groundhogs' coffee. It was barely rising, a living thing, like a slow unveiling of something important.

"Oh, the dew is heavy," I said, repeating a line I'd heard often, sounding all grown up. I was 3 or 4 and we were on our way to pick beans that would cook all day long and be done in time for supper.

"No, dew comes from heaven, to wash the plants' faces; this is fog, it comes from the earth to give them a drink."

Ninna was such a wise woman.

Fog is a collection of liquid water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated locally (such as from a nearby body of water, like a lake or the ocean, or from nearby moist ground or marshes).

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 We always planted two or three different crops of beans, every spring that I could remember. They were planted at different times so we would have early crops and we would have late crops. The soil had been plowed, furrowed, and Ninna carried the hoe that would dig the shallow holes. I dropped two beans into each hole. One would grow, she said, but one might not. That was my job for years, starting when I learned to count; I was the bean dropper, until the year Ninna said she was tired and it was probably my turn to dig the shallow holes. The bean seeds were white, sometimes brown, often speckled. Bush beans, pole beans, white half runners.  I knew the difference in the taste and growth of each then; I've almost forgotten now.


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

-Carl Sandburg


We don't get much fog here in the flatlands of western Kentucky. I looked for it this morning, but our soil is already so dry here in early May, the farmers are concerned for their crops. The earth doesn't have enough water to spare at this moment in this place, not even to give the plants much more than a drop to drink. The heavens can only give them a bit of a shower. Maybe soon we'll get some rain.

And why was I thinking of fog early this clear morning as I sat on my deck drinking coffee? My smoke tree has bloomed and after the blooms, fog remains to outline the tree. Oh not real fog, but my mind makes connections, and what I see in this early morning light is fog, rising from the mountains of my mind, slowly rising, taking the hush with it, and leaving behind clean faces and bird songs and another blue sky day to plant beans.


Related articles:
Aunt Bett, East Kentucky

About Sharon Brown
I am a retired art and humanities teacher. I am an artist and I am also a writer who has written a series of articles about the history and medicinal value of Kentucky wildflowers. The articles tell of growing up in the mountains of southeast Kentucky with my great Aunt Bett and Granny Ninna. I currently live in western KY.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Peaceful kaglic Sep 8, 2012 12:52 PM 16
Lovely words quietyard May 17, 2012 4:15 PM 1
Nice MaryE May 15, 2012 11:02 AM 26
Foggy Mountain Seray May 10, 2012 4:00 PM 2

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