Each morning on the mountainous peninsula between the cold-cliffed Pacific Ocean and the shallower, salty marshes and estuaries of the south San Francisco Bay, huge banks of marine inversion condensate roll up over the Santa Cruz mountains and down into the valleys below. The fog, a byproduct of the unique geography and climate of the peninsula, naturally cools the valleys and keeps the temperature mild all year long. That fog was a part of the first three decades of my life, and I have a natural love of the seeing it roll down the mountainside, like a silent and gentle grey landslide.
The fog almost always burns off by mid-morinng, and leaves behind crystal blue skies and mild sunny afternoons, then often returns around sundown, when the cooling water recreated the condensate. It’s pretty much perfect. This marine layer is what create the only “Mediterranean Climate” in the world, outside of the actual Mediterranean, and what makes San Francisco summers legendary in their coolness.
Now transplant that Northern California girl to the east coast…The strangest thing happened the other day. On our way home from errands, as the sun was setting, I noticed “fog” for the first time since moving- and my heart leapt! As we sped down the freeway towards the sinking daylight, I kept glancing into coves of trees and valleys, and sure enough, there was a thick, ground-level mist forming. It looked magical, and the kids wanted to stop and get out, so we pulled into the deserted parking lot of the Battlefield, and piled out of the car. Only, instead of relief, we met… dear lord… HOT FOG. A lifetime of conditioning had hardwired the anticipation of cooling, thick and chilled fog and when I stepped out into what was nearly a sauna, it was shocking to the point of near tears.Both Jeffrey and Abby shared my horror, and quickly got back in the car. Bean, on the other hand, was fascinated, and took off into the mist (which I have been informed is the correct name of this beautiful- yet ghastly- east coast hot-fog phenomena).He was quite pleased and didn’t share my horror. Not in the least. And I have to admit- it was beyond lovely. But still… hot fog. No. Just no.
2 thoughts on “A New Fog”
Growing up on an island, I associate fog with foghorns. Even though I didn’t live on the waterfront, you could always hear those foghorns long before you ever saw the actual fog. And on the rare winter day here when I wake up to a foggy morning, I always wish I could snuggle back into my bed and listen for those horns…
I remember this same exact thing happening when I moved to Virginia (I’m originallly from Oregon). After a warm start to the spring, I looked out my window, and saw overcast, gray, drizzly skies. “Yes!” I thought, as I slipped into a turtleneck and prepared myself to enjoy some cool air. And then I stepped outside and almost died. Humid, muggy, and NOT like the NW overcast, gray, drizzly skies I was craving. Ten years later, and I still remember feeling tricked.
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