In a Fog

It was full-frontal foggy the other day. This wasn’t just film noir, dry ice kind of stuff. Nay.

This was, “Holy Haunted House, but I’m holding my hand up in front of my face, and I can’t see it!”

Okay, it wasn’t my actually my hand, but I was waving something vaguely hand-like up in front of my face–a glazed bear claw from the donut shop, in truth–and I couldn’t see it a bit. Which makes it all the more fortuitious that pastries can be eaten by touch and require no sight.

Indeed, it was so foggy last Monday that a person might have been forced, there, outside the bakery

–as if she were slow dancing with a man named State of Desperation–

to use only mouth feel and feather-light fingertippling to feel her way around yeast and glaze and buoyant dough, until the claw disappeared and only chin crumbs remained. Yup, it was Sticky Face Foggy the other day, friend, the kind of day where pride is unnecessary, as you can’t even see yourself falling upon 500 calories of wickedness in a frenzy. You might as well eat three, for only the shadows know.

Some hours after that person Helen Kellered her way around a baked good, she awkwardly high-fived her healthy self and went for a run on the Superior Hiking Trail. Getting to the trailhead was an adventure in itself, as visibility was down to approximately 15 feet, which meant, once she knew roughly what part of town she was in, she had to flip on her blinker and then drive another 400 yards in the turn lane, muttering, “They ate Hutchinson Street. There is no Hutchinson Street. Yoo-hooooooooo…Where are you, Hutchinson Street? Maybe Hutchinson Street looked like a bear claw to someone this morning, so they mauled it with their teeth. Whoa, jinkies! There it went. That little curb thingy back there was Hutchinson Street. Looks like nobody’s behind me–but who would know, on a day like today?–so let’s throw it into reverse and hit it on the rebound.”

Eventually, our nameless bear claw ravener, also named me, forwarded and backed herself to the trailhead. I parked, pretended I was Catholic so I could cross myself dramatically, and headed into the woods.

Blundering through the fog, I listened to the Halloween podcast of “This American Life,” which featured the anxiety-inducing tale of a woman outside her country home who was attacked by a rabid raccoon on the driveway. Only after she managed to pin the ‘coon by its neck and feel around in her pockets for something–anything–did she find her cell phone, with her that day by a fluke. She called her son, and within minutes she had the aid of her family. But, get this: after her husband bashed at the rabid beast with a stick for several minutes, trying to kill it, the thing only got angrier and more aggressive. So they got a tire iron, the ultimate meat tenderizer, whereupon it only took another twenty whacks to put the poor, diseased creature out of its misery.

As I listened, I was reminded that going for a trail run is really relaxing, especially when you’re making your way through the forest juggling an enormous branch, a shard of broken glass, a granite rock, and potentially-rabid-animal-blinding confetti made of leaves.

What? I heard a puma.

And a badger. Discussing, in an exchange of hisses and gnarf-gnarfs, which parts of me looked most tender.

I had the children to think about, as I armed myself, intent on self-preservation. Wouldn’t want Niblet and Girl to grow up without a mother and all. Who else would dissect for them the talents of American Television Icon Chuck Woolery? (one day, when they’re ready)

Equally as heebiejeebie-ing as the thought of being stalked by rabid monsters was this worry: in that soupy fog, was my face going to melt?

Or in a slightly-brighter scenario, I posited that I might get back to my car and look in the rear view mirror, only to see this:

I’d have to gasp and be all, “Where’d my hair go?”

Fortunately, nothing used its cougar fangs or bear claws to tear at my flesh that day. And my face didn’t decompose into a smoky masque.

In fact, the whole thing turned out unexpectedly well. The scary podcast ended with David Sedaris visiting the morgue for kicks and giggles. The carbo-loading I’d done earlier in the day kept my tiny cat feet happily gliding over the trail. And the best bonus of all–that which keeps Bono looking 48 instead of his true 87 years old–is that mist and fog are hella good on the pores.

When I finished my run, flushed and trail tangled, I dropped my arsenal of weapons and hopped into the car, doing a quick check of my look in the rear view–for stray branches that might be dotting my hair.

HAWP. Looking back at me was this:

Oh, joyful, face-tightening fog, you made me ten again! I am glorious! I am magical!

Then the curious goiter on my shoulder bit me.





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22 responses to “In a Fog”

  1. flutter Avatar

    My goiters usually just talk to me, yours are all exotic.

  2. Balou Avatar

    Jinkies Pippi, great story!

  3. kimber the wolfgrrrl Avatar
    kimber the wolfgrrrl

    mmmm…..glazed bear claw……..*drools*

  4. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    That was an awesome story! I love how you wind up listening to a story about a woman attacked by a raccoon while you’re running through the foggy woods. That kind of thing happens to me all the time.

    At least it wasn’t the story of the woman jogger who was bitten by a fox and ran 1 mile with the fox still biting her arm.

  5. chelle Avatar

    It is foggy here a lot and I loved running through the mist and feeling the cool air.

    I however would not have been able to listen to Halloween podcasts of any sort. My imagination is much too vivid!

  6. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    gnarf-gnarfs. I like that.

    But poor little raccon.

  7. Jazz Avatar

    She managed to pin a rabid raccoon down by its neck? I wouldn’t want that lady pissed off at me.

  8. Shania Avatar

    I’m glad you wrestled your bear (claw) before you got to the woods!

  9. phd in yogurtry Avatar
    phd in yogurtry

    That fog? But inside my head this morning. I’m trying to get up the gumption to venture out into bright, sunshiny morning for a walk but now I fear raccoons and bear claws!

  10. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    That was so funny! Foggy places are so scary anyway between the echoing sounds and no sense of direction!

  11. furiousBall Avatar


    is that similar to snarf?


  12. pistols at dawn Avatar
    pistols at dawn

    Helen Keller as a verb? Brilliantly played.

  13. Anette Avatar

    Mr Nilson wood never do such a thing! (the monkey on your schoulder that is)

  14. TavoLini Avatar

    dude–this is crazy and awesome!

    I’m a new reader, a “Joslin” who goes by “Lini” and was drawn to your site by your name and connection to Norwegian Anette.

  15. Jeni Avatar

    “a tire iron, the ultimate meat tenderizer” – loved that part and I can envision -in my mind’s eye -right now, my using something like that sometime this winter on the off-chance, my son-in-law, the great white hunter, has any luck during deer season this year!
    Your stories always make me chuckle, brighten my day (or night) whatever time it might happen to be when I’m reading your stuff anyway. Keep it coming!

  16. Casdok Avatar

    Well written and love the pics!!

  17. Wendy Avatar

    wow, I need more fog around here.

  18. choochoo Avatar

    I luves fog. Especially the kinda fog they have in scary books, which might actually eat you. Mehe.

  19. Franki Avatar

    Top of the list of things NOT to do when it’s so foggy I can’t see my pastry in front of my eyes: Go running in the woods.

    Crazy woman.

  20. Janelle Avatar

    always so funny. brilliant! thick fog, eh? whooooooooooooo.. . xx janelle

  21. lime Avatar

    i am ok with the occasional bear encounter but am loathe to exert myself in athletic fashion. i’ll take my pore tightening at the hershey spa, tyvm. glad you made it out alive and more glowing than ever.

  22. Glamourpuss Avatar

    There’s monkeys in them woods?



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