January 4, 2016

Foggy Figs


In the last week, the fog has been paying many visits to the farm. The ability to see is based on the assumption that the physics of our environment allows our sense of sight to function. Fog changes our environment drastically enough to also change the fundamental sense of sight.

Early in the morning, I walk along the roads of the farm knowing where I am going not because I can see, but because I know where the roads take me. In the distance, there is nothing but the cloud I am walking through. Near me is the road, some dirt and a gray area of things that are not yet identifiable, but are certainly there. Out of the mist, a fig tree materializes - not out of thin air, but thick air. It is kind of eerie, and my imagination creates the image of a horsemen materializing out of the fog. For a
moment, it seems that anything can be just out of sight.

The fig trees look very impressive in this context. Their leaves have been lost long ago and now their bare branches stand alone. The individual branches coming out of the base. Junctures of limbs add up to the mass of a huge tree that stands resolutely in the fog. The gray fig trees have a purple tint to them behind the white fog. The tips of the branches are dark. I take a moment to realize that on a clear day, the fig trees don’t look this way at all. My mind reminds me that the trees are exactly the same in the fog as they are in the sunshine.

A hawk emerges and settles on a branch of a fig tree. The branch the hawk has settled on shakes slightly, acknowledging the hawk’s presence. I cannot see the details of the hawk, although the hawk is close enough to me that I realize it is not my eyesight that prohibits me from seeing the details of the bird, but it’s the murky air. This is one of the few moments that I can say my vision is as good as the hawk’s vision.

The hawk has seen nothing worth eating in this tiny section of the world. On clear days, the hawk can rely on its superior eyesight to spot food while hovering in the air above or perching itself at the top of a tall tree. Today, the hawk must hustle for its lunch, visiting smaller pieces of the world. As quickly as it materialized onto the fig tree, the bird dives off the tree and flaps it wings a few times before disappearing into the foggy morning.

The farm is different with the fog. I enjoy the change and breathe deeply. This is the winter season of the farm.