Sunday, July 15, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "The Mystique of Fog..."

Fog rolling into Halifax harbour
Living on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, we are very accustomed to fog, especially in the spring and summer. The past few weeks, it has often been rather foggy, but if a sunny day is forecast, we know that in time, the fog will burn off or retreat out to sea. Sometimes, we get frustrated when this happens for a stretch of days or weeks, but many tourists find it quite fascinating as many of them have never seen the phenomenon of ocean-generated fog. Generally, the fog is created as warmer water from the south meets our colder north Atlantic water. On days when it does retreat out to sea, you often see it rolling back in like billowing clouds skimming above the surface of the water. Within minutes, you can find yourself once again surrounded by fog. I actually find it rather interesting to watch, unless it’s going to spoil my plans for the evening.

The fog that intrigues me most is what we call “sea smoke” and mostly it occurs in the winter when warmer air hits the very cold water in the Halifax harbour. It is very surreal and mysterious-looking as it rises wispily from the water’s surface. I also love fog that settles lazily over a valley or hovers above a pond.

My husband and I love to take pictures in the fog – it’s a little challenging to get the exposure right (again, digital cameras allow you to experiment a lot more than with film and it’s a lot less expensive!). Our first three days in Newfoundland (if you missed last week’s blog, I wrote about some of our other experiences) provided much opportunity to do just that. I’ve learned that the waters off the Avalon Peninsula, where we were, and the Grand Banks are among the foggiest in the world so we were not surprised. You just have to go with the flow and make the best of whatever nature provides. We were very blessed that the last four days over the Canada Day long weekend were sunny and pretty much fog-free. Even the locals were commenting about it.

Stairs up to Cape Spear Lighthouse
If any of you have been to the Cape Spear Lighthouse, near St. John’s, you know how foggy it can be. We saw from Signal Hill in the city that it appeared to be not too bad looking across to the Cape, but as we headed up the road toward this national historic site, we were soon shrouded in some of the densest fog I have ever seen. I was driving and  could hardly see the road at times. We’d been warned many times about the abundance of moose in the province and I was so afraid one would pop out of the woods beside us – I couldn’t even see the ditch! Needless to say, we did not see the lighthouse that day and having never been there before, I didn’t even know which direction to look. As you can see from the pictures, we now know it was a very long climb by stairs up to the newer operational lighthouse and then up many more steps to the historic lighthouse that is now a museum (obviously, we went there again on a sunny day but the fog was still fairly thick). It was exciting standing on the easternmost point in North America!

Cape Spear operational lighthouse
On our last full day in Newfoundland it was once again a beautiful sunny day so we decided to do the Irish Loop which skirts around the southern part of the Avalon Peninsula. For the first three hours, it was sunny and warm. Then as we neared the southern tip near the “barrens” and Cape Race it began to get foggier and foggier. The air turned very cool and the winds became quite strong. No point in trying to see the Cape Race Lighthouse we figured! We couldn’t even see the ocean just on the other side of the road. But, that’s the mystery and intrigue of Newfoundland weather and eventually as we rounded the tip of the peninsula and headed north the sun once again broke through.

Of course, fog can present dangerous situations for drivers and mariners alike. I have a deep appreciation for the many fishermen who brave the dense ocean fog to make their living and provide for our dietary needs. I also thank the pilots who navigate aircraft through unpredictable foggy conditions. A few years ago, our airport had to install new navigational equipment just for this purpose. Even with that, many times flights have been delayed or cancelled because the fog is too thick.
Cape Spear Historic Lighthouse

All this made me think of a verse in I Corinthians 13:12. I read it in the Message paraphrase and liked its rendition, “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!” Sometimes I want to know everything now and not have to wait until God makes things clearer and more understandable to me. But I’m assured that some day, when I see Him face-to-face everything about my life will become completely clear and it will all make sense!

Until next Sunday,

A foggy photo op in Petty Harbour, NL

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  1. Beautiful pictures. I'm definitely not a fan of driving in fog, but it's always interesting to see when I'm not going anywhere.


  2. A beautiful post and photos Kathy. I like that scripture and the analogy you used about fog. Have a blessed week! Pamela

  3. Beautiful, and I would love to go to Nova Scotia. I really like the lighthouses. So mystical in the fog! I also very make love Corinthians 12:12, don't believe I've read it before, but it will now be one of my faves. So glad you shared your creative inspiration with Sunday's Best!

  4. Glad you enjoyed my blog and pictures. Cathy, you'll have to plan that trip to Nova Scotia! Nature provides us with so many wonderful spiritual analogies. Perhaps I'll write a little more about that this week. Stay tuned. Thanks for your comments.


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