Pic by DeeKnow
We drove out last night on a grocery run. It was a little foggy when we started out, but after an hour, by the time we started back home, thick fog had blanketed the city. Visibility was virtually zero.
I have driven through fog during daytime, and it was a different experience. During the day, I am more concerned about the traffic and focused on not rear-ending the car ahead. That apart, the fog around the car would make me feel like I was in a cocoon.
But this was different, and somewhat eerie. Here we were, driving through dark roads with hardly any streetlights or other cars. Not many houses, and the few ones set well away from the road. Fog all around us, with zero visibility. The car’s headlights, turned on high-beam, penetrating a few feet in front of us before giving up.
All we could see with the headlights were the waves of fog in front of us. The fog swirled, it ebbed and flowed all around, and I felt somehow like we were driving through an ocean, pushing through the waves to find a firm surface underneath.
I imagined that if Venus were habitable, this is how life on Venus would be – with swirling streams of carbon dioxide instead of water vapor.
And so we drove, until we reached a few hundred yards from our home. There, suddenly, the blanket of fog lifted, in one smooth motion, climbing up in front of us and passing over our car like a bird with wings outstretched. It was as if the fog that had followed us all the way, hugging us closely, had suddenly decided to lift the translucent limb that covered the car’s windshield. Suddenly, we saw a clear road where, seconds ago, there had only been murky waves.
That was when I felt the sudden eerie sensation. For the fog suddenly seemed so alive. I thought of Stephen King’s “The Mist” but in that book (and the movie), the mist was strange only because it had creatures hidden in it.
The sensation I had was different – I could suddenly imagine the fog itself as a living creature. A form-changing, many tentacled creature, each swirl a limb, encircling everything in its grasp. Then I remembered Fred Hoyle’s “The Black Cloud”, where the cloud turns out to be an intelligent, alien creature. That was exactly how I felt about this fog.
As our garage door opened and our car drove in, I could imagine the tentacles of the fog sneaking in with us. No doubt, a tiny part of the fog has also made its way into the house and is probably still swirling around me as I write this.
I wonder if it is peeking behind my shoulders, reading this blog. (Will it leave a comment?) Do you think it is amused, its shoulders heaving in silent laughter, laughing at me and all humans?