A Fog Blog

Today was a foggy day. At about 1030 AM or so, the spouse and I went for a walk break. It was still foggy and the air was tinged with whiteness, as it often is just before snow falls. Only we don’t get snow here by the rivers. Rarely, anyway. The last time I think we got snow in my town was in 1990, so that’s a long while ago. Or at least it was cold enough for snow. I remember I was out of town and got a call that there had been snow in 1990. But I digress. My thoughts are sticking and laying heavy, just like the fog.

While walking the conversation went sort of like this:

“It’s foggy.”

“Yes. That’s Tule fog. Special to the area.”

“Does it happen anywhere else?”

“I don’t think so. I think it’s just here. [Professor friend] told me about it. And she pronounced it the right way, too—it’s too-lee fog. Like Julie. Or unruly.”

“Or just fog.”

Tule Fog earlier in the winter

I always think about poetry when I experience Tule fog. It’s not like a rolling, dramatic San Francisco Bay Area fog. That kind of fog, at least in the summer, blows in on an afternoon and hangs out until morning. You can watch it come in over the Bay, as I often did from a rooftop in Berkeley one year. This poem often comes to mind:

“The fog comes 
on little cat feet.

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

                               -“Fog” by Carl Sandburg

I think when Carl Sandburg was writing about fog, he wasn’t writing about Tule fog. Sandburg’s fog moves on, but Tule sits in damp expectation and thickens the air in the valley. Tule arises from some sort of delta marsh grasses with the same name. The LA Times calls it a type of “radiation fog” – which does little to ease the mind of the inhaler of the moist air.


Satellite Photo of Tule Fog, by Jeff Schmaltz; NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, when we were excitedly hoping to view the Jupiter-Saturn eclipse, the Tule fog rudely and thickly landed and we were lucky to see our next-door neighbor’s holiday lights that night.

The next day, the fog was gone and the night was clear. But the conjunction was no longer visible in the sky.

It was a reminder, the fog is not consistent. It doesn’t move in and set up house for days. It comes and then it leaves. Quietly, with no fanfare.

Maybe Sandburg was right, after all.




Gratitude 2020 – Day 9

Today my gratitude is for the change in the weather. The reflectiveness of the fall season, where our city is bathed in leaves and cool air.

Fall leaves in Sacramento

The coolness and sometimes chill of Fall make it easy to think. We move faster outdoors. We do things faster, to generate heat.

Fall is also suggestive of the beginning of holidays (holy-days) and gatherings. Ritual and tradition. Feasting and celebration.

Although, again, 2020 doesn’t look like last year, it still deserves celebration to note the passing of the year. Perhaps even more so. 

This year has been challenging and for many of us, there have been losses. 

No better reason to stop for a moment and raise a glass to the year of experience, good, bad, and massive growth. That’s how I am going to look at it.

2020 has been a year chock-full of experience. I am better for it. And now I truly understand how precious many things are that were put aside this year.

I’m thankful to be here to note these things. Thankful for decent health in my familial circle. Thankful for continued employment. All these things are good. Grateful.

Gratitude 2020 – Day 8

Blame it on the rain. My gratitude for today was for the cool, windy, rainy weather. And the opportunity I had to go walking in it.

I got my spouse to come out in it with me, and we both had out coat collars pulled up as we trudged up and over the I-5 freeway in Sacramento.

The sky was grey, punctuated by bursts of orange. Fall has landed here in Northern California.

As we walked, we were both reminded of days we lived in Russia during our courtship, where raininess like this was a summer event. Today’s rain brought back some serious laughter from a stay in Karelia, a region not too far from Finland.

We were young and silly. There was some fishing involved. And I think I missed the dock, so I landed in the lake. All was well. Wet, but well.

Rain in California these days is a good thing. It signals that perhaps fire season is over. It signals that the hills will turn bright green, the grasses will grow lush.

It’s winter in the valley.

I’m thankful it got here, finally. Grateful for the fresh weather, fresh air. And the reminder of happy times.

Gratitude 2020 – Day 4

It’s Monday in the Valley and there’s freeze warning until 9 AM.

My cell phone tells me it’s 34 degrees outside. This wouldn’t be a big deal except that a week or so ago we were in the 80s. I guess California winter has arrived. Which brings me to my #gratitude for the morning.

#Thankful for heaters that work and warm, fuzzy pajamas. Also, even though working from home during a pandemic has its low points, today I am really pleased I do not have to commute to the office, only to shiver all day and break out my Santa Claus half-handers!

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

I know I’ll be warm today. That’s a big blessing.

Run with a Mask or No?

I debated with myself a bit yesterday about how I would approach the morning. I needed to complete two runs by Sunday to stay on track with RunBet but the air and the heat this week have been unusually challenging. The sky has been red–the sun blocked by haze and smoke. I posted before and after my run on FB:

Today I will be running with a mask. Or, I guess I should call it, jogga-waddling. I’ll be moving as fast as I can for about 40 minutes. Then coming inside and washing the remains of someone’s worldly possessions off of my skin. 😬 It has to be done. The jog and the wash. I will be testing the theory that you should not run with a mask on. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

ON Facebook
Smoke occludes the morning sun in Sacramento, California, due to ongoing fires

#StrangeObsession #NotMinimizingIt #CaliforniaBurning


When I was out there, I had time to think. It wasn’t as bad I thought, getting outside about 40 minutes before sunrise. I did check the AQI and was well hydrated. And I got my run done. As promised, I reported the mask experiment on social media.

The morning run is done. What I learned: masks while running suck. Even lightweight medical office masks. About 5 minutes in, I had to take mine off. I felt like I was suffocating. I’d rather get a whiff of faint campfire than slowly choke on my own exhaust. Two, it’s wonderful to run in my neighborhood before dawn. No one was out. It was me and a canopy of trees. Divine. And three, the level of commitment I seem to have recently made to running is nothing short of surprising. I wasn’t able to talk myself out of it this morning. Now to dissect why that is and apply it in other areas of life. I think the key here is #commitment. In any event, hope your Friday is good and that you are safe wherever you are.

FACEBOOK POST

A friend of mine commented that he “wussed out” on his run today. I responded — barely recognizing myself. Who have I become? It’s mind-boggling.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. If you keep an eye on the AQI and go when it’s clearing a little do to dew in the air, you should be fine. Depending on how long you’re going for, though! Plus give yourself permission to go slow and to tap out if you need to. I feel MUCH better now that I got ‘er done!

Final Facebook post for the day

Lesson for the day: #KeepOnRunnin

All I need is the air that I breathe…

After a couple of sleepless nights and a day off from running, I decided I had better get out there and run. I’m particularly a super committed runner, but when I have a #RunBet going (and I do at the moment) it is enough to make me push my limits. I knew it was going to be challenging with the record-breaking heat in the area, and now the smoky, ashy air quality. 

A little after dawn, I laced up and got out there. The air was still and generally thick, as it has been, but the sky was a goldish reddish color that reminded me of the Wine Country fires in Napa County in October 2017. We were there then, and it was not anything but stressful and frightening. 2017 had been my first up close and personal experience with fire.

I knew I was going to be slow, but as long as I got my minimum pace for the challenge, and my minimum time, I was good to go.

Few people were out. Even fewer than the recent hot days. We’ve had at least 5 days in a row of over 100 degree Fahrenheit heat. That’s not too big a deal if you know Sacramento and the valley. But the heat has been humid, with thunder and lightning (the lightning out of nowhere caused many of the fires) and that has been new.

I took it easy, but my adult daughter was out on the street looking for me. She had a bandana over her mouth and nose. She tells me, “It was bothering me, and I figure if I had trouble with the ash and air, you would.”

Surprisingly I wasn’t too troubled. I actually didn’t even notice the cars coated with white and gray ash until I came back from nearly 40 minutes of a slower zennish jog.

Here is my FB post shortly after I got back, with the photo above.

The car was clean, actually, yesterday. This is ash from the fires. And yes, I ran in it. Really slowly, but I got ‘er done this morning.

It’s amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it. My mind was set on running. Now I’m wondering if I did any damage. I hope not. But as there are no N95 masks to be had, I guess the damage is already done.

I’ll probably wait another day before I go out again. But I know that I will want to get my scheduled runs for this week done, as soon as I can, as best as I can.

I made a commitment. 

#KeepOnRunnin

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