Monday, December 19, 2011


Fog is something we're somewhat familiar with. At home, there is sometimes fog on the lake.

In Chitwan, Nepal, Dad and Ioan's birdwatching expedition was postponed for an hour because of fog. They couldn't postpone in more than that, or apparently they would have had a better view.

In India, trains are postponed because of fog— trains will not go if there is fog on the tracks. At all. Trains can be postponed for hours because of fog on the tracks.

Fog in Chitwan was something that we saw in the morning as we woke— lightly obscuring things about ten feet in front of us, getting worse the farther away we tried to look. It was not terrible though, as it usually cleared at about ten or so.

Fog in Agra is a different beast. You cannot see any of the monuments you have come to see until they are within arm's reach. When visiting the Taj Mahal, we were practically on the platform before we could see one of the minarets. We had to be quite close to see the Taj itself, and I don't think we saw the dome properly at all.

But the fog is also quite helpful. For one thing, we got to have a wonderful discussion with two people which we otherwise would not have had— people would have been hurrying to take photos of the Taj, or trying to sightsee. But with the fog stopping us from seeing more than a meter in front of our noses, we could curl up on the back of the Taj and talk about the places we'd been and the things we'd seen.

The fog also made things cold. Really cold. While waiting for the fog to lift, we ran around the Taj in under a minute in order to warm up.

Walking around in fog is something eerie. It means knowing where you're stepping but not where you're going. It means staring at the ground to see the path because there's nothing you can see in front of you.

It means that instead of seeing the Taj Mahal from the beginning… all we saw was a grey mist. On the road to the Taj, we were actually wondering if it was possible we had lost our way! We could see nothing in front of us except the street lights… and they were so dim they didn't seem very reliable.

All the same, the fog is a beautiful thing. Even if there was also fog in the afternoon, instead of obscuring things it lent a softness to everything it touched. It made things hazier, but not terrible. It gave things a further feel, in a way, as if something was much more distant than it actually was.

The fog is grey, and a bit blue. In contrast to the red we have been seeing, it made things slightly gloomier… slightly less forcedly cheerful. It made me feel a bit sleepy, a bit calm. A bit more at peace.

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