Fog

© Words and music by Ray Scudero. All rights reserved.

I suppose everyone here has been accustomed to fog to the point that it’s become the normal state of affairs to live in obscurity. As for me, a deep appreciation has been developing so that I now see this omnipresent vapor in increasing levels of subtlety. Notice the way it moves, this ectoplasmic vagabond of the seas, hills and valleys, wafting about as though dancing to some graceful orchestration to which these poor ears are deaf.

At times, she is a woman who passes by me with a capricious flare to her skirts that fans my face and catches me with sweet perfume that evokes images of wildflower-laden meadows after a rainfall. At night, he is mystery himself. He is Holmes and Watson, double-oh-sevened in pursuit of unseen villainy, the Vincent Price-less smiling enigma, the bogeyman, the Cheshire Cat mousing around the wharf on a moonlit night, the Invisible Man, the ghost.

This particular evening, the fog found me following the trail down to the weirs past Cranshaw’s Clam Bar. I like to go there when the moon is in full phase and it turns the fog into milky, flowing waves that roll across the harbor and spill onto the creosote decking like gaseous cotton, tickling my ankles as I sit on my favorite loggerhead with my bare feet resting on the bowline of one of the old wooden fishing boats while gentle waves make their lapping, platting sounds against the seaworn hull.

My thoughts drifted along that shadowy line between deep concentration and daydreaming until a new attraction lured me away from the mesmerizing symphony of sea-sounds. Another instrument, emerging like chimes amid woodwinds, captured my ears and bade me focus my sense of hearing. When I turned my head toward the lighthouse, the fog parted its satin curtain, and in that brief instant the light arced around and shone straight into my eyes, so that I saw only a single silhouette surrounded by pearlescent flare and next, the eerie blindness like the one that follows the camera flash. I was not alone.

A gentle hello confirmed the notion that I was not entertaining a figment of imagination—at least not mine. The greeting was accompanied by soft footfalls amid the creaking boards and lines that groaned as a tidal swell lifted the boats toward the circling moon. The sound of breathing melded with the hissing of the sea, punctuated only by the delicate tinkling that had caught my attention only moments before—earrings, little silver bells before a backdrop of ebony hair, ringing in the platinum moonscape.

“You here for the fog?” asked she.

“Yeah,” said I. You’re beautiful, I thought.

“He’s a mystery tonight,” she said.

“She’s an enchantress,” was my reply.

It’s difficult to recall how much time passed in face-to-face silence before we simultaneously bent at the knees to arrive at rest with our backs to the loggerhead, sixty degrees apart from each other, and whether her breathing just sounded so clearly due to the sonic conductivity of the fog—or if I had been holding my breath to better hear the sound of silver bells singing on the weirs.




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