Friday January 16 2009
We've been cloaked in frozen fog for 2 nights and days now, a gray-white veil that comes with hoarfrost. It looks like fine white lace sprayed everywhere, or a snowfall that didn't quite make it onto the ground. An enchanting wonderland, another version of winter. What is it about ice that is so fascinating to me? The hoarfrost is choosy where it decorates: it has disregarded the fences, the ground, rocks, buildings and non-live plant material except for tumbleweeds; it has grown on and completely covered every living plant - tree, grass, weed, single-stem blades; single horse-tail hairs hanging off fences,
horse tails on horses,
halters and lead ropes.
And it grows more on one side - as if the fog snuck in from one direction. The west-facing sides of the plants have a few millimeters of ice, while the east-facing sides have a quarter inch. I haven't seen the hills that rise on either side of this canyon for two days. Sometimes the fog is so thick I can't see the horses 50 yards away.
It's only about 25*F, but at 80% humidity, it's a biting cold that stings your nose as soon as you step outside.
There's a unique quiet that fog brings, like a blanket thrown over everything. It's quiet out here in Owhyee anyway, but under the fog everything is muffled. A bird calls and it is immediately silenced. A horse chews a mouthful of hay then it's muffled. And you get a sense of waiting between the silent spaces... waiting for the next hoofstep as the horses move along to graze, the next single Raven caw, the slight trickle from the creek (if you are right next to it).
I've been lost in fog before. I could possibly get lost out here on a ride if I stray from the washes and trails that I know well, or if I don't pay attention to what trail I'm on. I wonder if the horses would still know the way home, with their internal compass? I bet they would. The forecast is unchanged for the next week. Maybe I'll go test the equine compass theory tomorrow.