Monday, January 26

Ice Fog

It is downright cold here. I woke up this morning to -43C. As I write this it is noonish and still at -43. So the ice fog is here, coming along for us--as it always does--with the frigid temperatures. Driving my daughter to work, I could just barely make out the tail lights of the car in front of me. I suppose invisible tail lights were partly to blame for the accident I saw on Two Mile Hill, where one car had rammed into the back bumper of another.

For the uninitiated who read this, as anyone living in most of the rest of the world would be, let me explain what ice fog is. Ice fog comes when very cold air (-40 or so) meets the vapor arising from open water, like the water in a fast moving river, and causes the vapor to condense and form a cold, thick, crystal fog. Contributing too, are the temperature inversions that trap winter air in a river valley, and the exhaust from running vehicles. And that is the science lesson behind ice fog.

So what is being in ice fog like? It is being curiously isolated from everything around. Only very near things are distinct, and things not far off are alien and distant. At the same time, remote sounds seem to come from right next door, creating an odd disconnect between what is seen and what is heard. The fog gathers into sparkling frost on all the tree branches, and behind the fog are the backlights of bright blue winter skies. All this gives things an otherworldly character, like the frozen Narnia. Or maybe more like the Queen of Narnia--beautiful and strangely enticing, but nasty to the core.