The language of fog

November 25, 2013

As I write this, a hard noisy wind drives a sodden mist across the face of She-Oak hill; a hill whose southern portion is a cleaved cut of a cliff facing the wave cresting sea. Earlier in the week a very different near silent dry fog rose up the cliff face off the water and tip-toed through these very same she-oaks.

It was a gentle drift of a fog delicate in manner and it swept me into a world whose existence is hard to fathom on picture postcard sunny days.

Sleepy fog. Chilling fog. Meditative fog. Damp fog. Mushroom fog. Silent fog. Frog fog. Quiet fog. Pumpkin fog. Autumn pond fog. My difficulty is finding the single words that describe the varieties of fog without the additional adjective. There are none. “Mist” is close, but too heavy, just shy of becoming rain.

Like the many words of snow in Inuit, there must be languages elsewhere that speak the many names of fog.


The fog of three days ago captured me in its moving web of shadow and light. The air was relatively still with just the occasional bird tweet. The waves unseen but a constant background hum.

Hiding objects in its diaphanous flimsy, this fog was more tangible, more graspable, more readily apparent to the senses. I no longer stood with only bare feet making contact with the earth. I was whole-of-body “in” the landscape, enveloped by — shall I use the word?– a felt tenderness… whose soft, knowing consciousness was made manifest by wispy trails of language forgotten by most.

Below are two videos of the same sequence of time. “Fog” is in HD, while “Fog 1” has been reduced for faster downloads (with less quality, though).

If possible, view on HD and allow its mesmerizing rhythms to carry you into the image. Notice the difference between the foreground green and the background trees. It almost looks like two separate images were photo shopped together. Nothing has been enhanced. This is just raw footage filmed as I stood there transfixed.


Fog from Peter Adams on Vimeo.

Fog 1

Fog 1 from Peter Adams on Vimeo.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Biddulph November 25, 2013 at 11:32 am

This is very restorative as I sit trapped in an urban hotel. Heading home to Tasmania, both immediate and as a whole of life journey. I can actually feel that fog on my face as I watch it. This is where we came from, and where we always belong. Absolutely part of nature. Thanks Peter.

John Caddy November 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Lovely, Peter. Bev Reeler just got rain in Zimbabwe, you received the blessing of fog (shared on your G-1?), and I received minus 18 degrees C. with strong winds. I’m watching crows pick frost flowers off the pond ice, hold them in their beaks just long enough for the crystals to collapse before they swallow. Slow drinking. Be well. Root through those bare feet.

Susan Deborah November 26, 2013 at 3:14 am

I love the fog inspite of our country having no winters like that of yours. I am a poem by Carl Sandburg:


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

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

Joy always,

peter December 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Glad to receive this comment Susan. Haven’t heard from you in awhile. All okay in your part of the world?

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