Thursday, January 20, 2011


Last night, around 7 pm, I took the four dogs out for their evening walk.  It was magical outside – we were completely enveloped in a thick, dense fog – the kind that fills the air with tiny droplets so small you can't see them, but if you wave your hand through the air it gets wet.  Visibility was down to just a hundred feet or so.  You can see this on the chart at right as a “pulse” of high humidity a few hours ago.

The three field spaniels went on an ecstatic tour de odeur, madly sniffing at anything and everything, drinking in the enhanced odors of the evening.  Race chased pine cones both real and imaginary; he didn't even notice the fog.  The dogs fur quickly was covered in tiny little droplets, giving them a diamond-encrusted appearance in the dim light from our front porch.  There was a full moon high overhead, but the fog so dimmed and diffused the light that I could scarcely tell it was there.

This morning was a completely different story.  We got up a bit early, around 2 am.  Everything was damp outside, but the sky was completely clear and it was much warmer than last night.  On the chart above, you can see that an hour or so before our morning walk, the humidity dropped precipitously (from near 100% to under 10%) in the span of a few minutes, and the temperature jumped 10°F at the same time.  A beautiful full moon was high in the sky, and it was very bright outside.  No flashlight needed this morning!  Off to the west I could see the top of fog in the lower reaches of Lawson Valley, bright white in the moonlight.  Colors were easily visible all around us, even in the distance.  The stars were largely washed out by the moon, but this was more than compensated by the beautiful views of the moonlit landscape.

The dogs were excited, too, but by something completely different and unknowable.  They spent our entire morning walk – all four of them – being very quiet, staying close to me, and sniffing at a dozen or so particularly interesting spots.  It was hard to get them off those spots.  A couple of times the four dogs made a perfect "plus" sign, with all four noses smelling the same square inch of ground, 90° apart.  I'd sure like to know what they were smelling!  It had to be something really, really interesting to get Race's mind off pine cones. 

I'm looking forward to seeing that fog in the moonlight as I drive into work this morning...

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