The Suitcase Lady


September 15, 2015, 8:11 pm

The fog comes 
on little cat feet. 
It sits looking 
over harbor and city 
on silent haunches 
and then moves on.
Carl Sandburg

The little cat feet came last week. And I’m not referring to the 36 paws that pat around in our house every day. Fall is fog season, and for those of us who live beside a giant lake, the fog is intense.

I frequently will be heading home on the freeway in brilliant sunshine and then turn my gaze toward the lake and see a solid roll of fog. “Socked in” is the local phrase describing this condition.

There is no scientific difference between clouds in the sky and fog formed near the earth’s surface. Consequently, I will frequently be walking around with my head in the clouds this fall.

Lake Michigan produces advection fog when warm, moist air advects, or blows, over the cold water of the lake. Massive billows of fog smother the lake and drift over the land.

The haziness gets compounded by radiation fog when the earth cools down after sunset. “Ground fog” happens on still nights and creates amazing Halloween effects.

One night last week we dined on our front deck and watched the fog envelop our known world…no field, no road, no barns, no mailbox. We were encased in a quiet, white cocoon.

But the flip side of fog is horror. Unsuspecting drivers race seventy-five miles per hour down the freeway that follows our shoreline. When suddenly they are staring at a solid white wall of fog, they slam on the brakes. Despite the fact that this road is the deadliest in the state, no fog warning signs are posted.

Travelers at Milwaukee’s Lake side airport are luckier. Fall flights are frequently grounded by fog. Drinking a latte and waiting for the fog to burn off should definitely be viewed as life enhancing.

cat feet

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