When the fog sinks in you can go anywhere.
It’s not like this in other places but it’s like it here. Wherever ‘here’ is. I’ve lived here my whole life and I used to know. Or I think I used to know.
The fogs come faster now. It’s almost all fog, all the time, and then ‘here’ won’t have a meaning anymore. What is ‘here’ if ‘here’ is everywhere?
The first one was five years ago. I woke up. Ate a cold breakfast and poured coffee into my travel mug with the hearts on it and got into my car. My house is a little up the slope, work down. So as I drove to work, I drove into the fog.
I wasn’t thinking about work on my way in. I was thinking about all the places I’d rather be besides work. Any place, really, but that morning I was thinking of the Redwood forest, in California. I’d never seen it in person. Only pictures. But the thought of being next to something so much bigger than me, something alive and that much bigger, had taken control of my imagination. I thought about being in the redwoods, and I drove through the fog.
And then I was in the Redwoods. I had to slam on my breaks. I stopped two inches away from the red bark of one of them. It was big. Huge.
Bigger than I thought they would be. I remembered the pictures I had seen, in the nature magazines. The images on my television, an expensive OLED flat screen that made you feel like you were there. The redwoods there had been big. They had carved a tunnel for cars into one. A single car at a time.
The redwood I almost hit, if you carved a tunnel in it five cars could go through. At least. It was so big I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it. And there were more. I was surrounded. These trees were bigger than my home. Than the building I worked in. They stretched into the sky so far I couldn’t see the ends of them. Only feel the shade of their branches and leaves, far up among the clouds. In every direction, I could see more and more of the giants.
Every direction, that is, except one.
I drove back through the fog and found my home. I decided not to try leaving again until the fog cleared up. My boss was pissed.
I had decided it was all a dream until the fog came back. This time I was going to the grocery store, but day dreaming about the show I had been watching the night before. I only remembered the oversized redwood forest as I passed through the fog out onto another planet. This time the sand stopped me. The planet was nothing but sand. Dunes of sand, rising up over each other for as far as I could see. The cold, wet, damp of the fog was replaced by heat. Dry, sizzling heat. I absently turned the air conditioning on as I stared out the windshield. I was too afraid to get out. In the show, this planet was not a friendly one. The fog was still behind me, and I reversed quickly. Before something could come at me from under the sand.
I thought I was going crazy until I heard the others in town talking about it. I was at the diner, having lunch and talking to the waitress and the line cook and a couple of guys from the mill. I’ll never forget their faces, as we realized what we thought were dreams or creeping insanity was real. It’s a sort of quiet look, a mixture of relief and buzzing fear. Relief: not crazy. Fear: everything else.
You could get through the fog if you kept your mind on track. When I drive to work, now, if the fog is there (and it usually is) I just have to keep imagining the little parking lot. It’s hard work. The drive is fifteen minutes, and a single slip up, a single second of drifting away and thinking of somewhere else, and that’s where you end up. Some mornings it takes me close to an hour to get to work. Nobody gets mad at me anymore. We have all learned to manage.
But it’s not enough. The fog has not stopped. It comes almost every day now. It is spreading. I used to be on top of it in my house, but no longer. The fog surrounds my house on all sides, pressing against the windows. I’m afraid if I let it in I won’t be able to go down the hall without ending up under the sea, or on the moon, or a very tiny man on a very large shelf (don’t ask).
‘Here’ is being erased by the fog. The fog will take all and put us where it thinks we want to go. ‘Here’ will be everywhere, which means ‘here’ will be nowhere.
I’m thinking of moving.