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Season of mists

October 11, 2010

Anyone who lives close to fresh water will have noticed the evening phenomenon of mist curling up from the water as the air temperature above it cools. We are close to a large river here, but are separated from it by woodland. At this time of year, when the sun sets behind the hills at around twenty past six, the mist rising coincides with children’s supper time, so I often notice it as I glance out of the kitchen window. The first thing one notices is a little stray tendril creeping out from the edge of the woods. Just a little absence of colour in the landscape, a brightness that should not be there.

Watching it is like watching a clock: you cannot see it moving unless you look away and back again. Ten minutes later, the distant cattle are wading in a sea of vapour. White fingers curl towards the two sycamores in the middle of the field.

There is something ghostly about the inexorable creeping of the mist towards the castle. It is a daily event and I understand (roughly, anyway) the physics of it, yet it never fails to unnerve me. All the technological and scientific confidence of the modern world cannot entirely dispel our atavistic dread.

As the light thickens, the undergrowth is full of movement: rustlings and scamperings as rabbits and birds make the most of the dusk. Cock pheasants call hoarsely from the field. On the lochan, splashes and squabbles signify wild ducks alighting for the evening. Tendrils of mist curl up from the water to join those seeping across the field. Time for humans to be indoors. Draw the curtains and throw another log on the fire: out in the darkening woods, it is not our world.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret Lambert permalink
    October 12, 2010 12:56 am

    I spent years unsuccessfully trying to explain the complex workings of some things to my inquisitive children, who finally accused me of making up what I didn’t know. Now I just say, “it’s Magic”. Fortunately my husband can tell you how to build the clock if you ask the time. Very atmospheric!

  2. Jessica permalink
    October 12, 2010 1:41 am

    A lovely description of your surroundings which I can picture quite clearly. BTW – Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. October 12, 2010 1:59 am

    One needs a little magic around supper time!

  4. October 12, 2010 11:19 am

    A wonderful sequence of photographs! Such an elusive subject!

  5. dancingbeastie permalink
    October 12, 2010 2:33 pm

    There is certainly something ethereal about it, and I don’t think that knowing the scientific facts ever detracts from the feeling of magic in the world.

    Jessica, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours too. Canadian Thanksgiving always catches me out I’m afraid! I hope you had a good one.

  6. October 12, 2010 8:21 pm

    Loved the ‘feel’ of this post! Yes, quickly, draw the curtains!

  7. June 17, 2011 4:30 pm

    I like how you described it. Very poetic and graphic.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 17, 2011 11:23 pm

      Thank you, and thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  8. Val permalink
    October 31, 2011 2:04 am

    You’ve done well to photograph some of it. My husband and I have tried many times to capture the mist coming off the river near us: sometimes we get a bit of it. The other day, at sunset I tried… and failed miserably! Here, as well as rising up from the river, it seems to float part of the way up the hills across the valley, some miles from the water.

    As you say, it’s not our world… but then sometimes it is when the other creatures allow us to partake of it.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      October 31, 2011 10:32 am

      It’s certainly an elusive subject for photography, and I am rarely outside at just the right moment. If one is out in it, though, it is a magical time, that twilight between two worlds.


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