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An Evening in the Mist at Summit Lake State Park

by Lance Gideon

Call me weird, but I have always found fog to be beautiful. Of course, when I have to drive in it, it can be a nuisance; but when it comes down to it, I love the fog. Maybe it’s because a good fog usually meant a couple extra hours of sleep on school days, maybe because it reminds me of family vacations to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or maybe I just enjoy the thought of not being able to see too far ahead of me and my four other senses are on high alert. Recently, I ventured out to Summit Lake State Park on a misty late autumn evening to experience the beauty of the fog.

As I drove through the park I was reminded of a poem by William H. Davies called “The Fog”

I saw the fog grow thick,
Which soon made blind my ken;
It made tall men of boys,
And giants of tall men.

It clutched my throat, I coughed;
Nothing was in my head
Except two heavy eyes
Like balls of burning lead.

And when it grew so black
That I could know no place,
I lost all judgment then,
Of distance and of space.

The street lamps, and the lights
Upon the halted cars,
Could either be on earth
Or be the heavenly stars.

A man passed by me close,
I asked my way, he said,
"Come, follow me, my friend"—
I followed where he led.

He rapped the stones in front,
"Trust me," he said, "and come";
I followed like a child—
A blind man led me home.


In the poem, Davies talks about the experience of a man who is unable to see because of a thick fog. That man is soon accompanied by a blind man, who must use his other senses in order to get around. I think it is this poem that illustrates why I love the fog so much. With a limited sight, you can hear things crisper then before; the sound of a twig as it breaks in the wind, a fish jumping out of the water, or maybe a critter running on the ground. You can smell and taste the air as it breezes off the lake, and you can feel the chill of winter as it creeps closer and closer.

I know that most people see fog as a major nuisance, something that causes them grief in the morning because they have to drive in it, but maybe instead of it giving us grief we can learn to enjoy it a little bit. Next time it gets foggy, take a walk outside. Maybe you can take a quick trip out to your closest park and hear, smell, taste, and feel things that you never have before.


Published: 12/21/2012


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