Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Foghorn Anyone?

Foghorn - that's exactly what I needed this morning on my ride to work. When I got up this morning at 4:30, made a cup of coffee and logged into iGoogle, the weather alert flashed but one word "Fog". I scarcely gave it a fleeting thought until I walked out the house at 6:15 am. I looked around and the lights reflecting off a dense fog was eerie.

I wasn't a quarter mile from the house when I was forced to make my first stop. The fog was so thick and wet that it was like rain suspended in mid air. My riding glasses (clear lens) were covered with mist and I could scarcely make out where I was going. I stopped briefly, took them off and stuffed them in my pocket. I continued riding in the darkness and fog as the moisture collected on my clothes, beard, eyebrows and eyelashes.

I mentioned in a recent post that I liked riding in the dark because it made my world small. Riding the the dark, in the fog made my world next to minuscule. My 10 watt headlight, though fully charged , emitted but a miserable excuse for illumination. I was taking the short route to work - a route that I have ridden a thousand times if I've ridden it once. Yet this morning I got lost. I couldn't read the street signs, they were enveloped in fog and my light was overwhelmed just trying to illuminate a dim spot 10 feet in front of me. I turned left on what I thought was the same road I am accustomed to turning on, only to be met by surroundings that sounded not a shred of familiarity. I quickly realized that I had obviously turned too soon, so I improvised, adjusted my route and got back on track.

I continued on and eventually made it to the entrance of the shipyard's north yard parking lot. On all my previous commutes, at this point I am met by the blaring lights that illuminate a shipyard that never sleeps. Yet this morning, as I gazed into the direction of the yard, I was met with total darkness. Had the shipyard slipped into the James River? Was it experiencing a major power outage? Given the scene that met my eyes at that moment, one would never have imagined that I was barely a stones throw away from the biggest shipyard in the United States. I was surrounded by a darkness and fog so deep it could be felt. I was transported to my youth, growing up in rural Southwest Louisiana. Surrounded by swamps, fog was as much a part of life as sunrises. Of course, back then I had enough sense not to ride in the dark or the fog. So the sensation this morning was a new one all together.

I eventually made it to work without incident. I was cold and wet - but I felt good. The ride was spooky - disconcerting - risky - but it was exhilarating. I got lost - but discovered something new. I rode slower - but arrived too soon.

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