The fog is back this morning, and it's thick, sucking all the color out of the earth and sky. Fog brings with it a sense of isolation, restricting our access to the business-as-usual going on outside our field of vision. It shrinks the world into a gray space no larger than that which we can see through cobweb-laden eyes. I find the phenomenon interesting for all of about two minutes, then it becomes tiresome, and I'm ready for it to burn away.
Unless the fog is part of a story. Then, I enjoy it immensely. In a good story fog becomes a character of its own, a living character, and one to be reckoned with. It can be deliciously thrilling when it enshrouds the forest that a child entered for the first time half an hour earlier, thinking the leaf-covered path through the trees might be a shortcut home. Or when it settles over a vast lake, obscuring the shoreline from a man who has been fishing alone in a small boat and suddenly can't get his bearings. Or when great, blowing puffs of it surround the car in which a fearful woman drives in the night on a narrow, two-lane road, frantically fleeing the abusive husband she knows will awaken too soon from his drunken slumber.
Imagining those foggy scenarios made me remember a favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie, Midnight Lace, in which a newly married American woman (Doris Day) is stalked in a dense London fog. Ummm-ummm. Fog like this produces the best kind of shivers: