Fog has cloaked the city for the last two days, shrouding us in muted, icy wool.
It was never like this back in the old country.
Sure, there was fog, occasionally, but most often you could see its beginning and end, or at least observe the cloudy layer it formed in the air. There is nothing like seeing it lie low in a valley or, even more interesting, form a strata within the valley but leave the bottom clear. The vagaries of air currents and humidity created a distinct environment.
But here? The fog, or should I say the haar, is an all-encompassing thing. When it comes, it is unrelenting. Luckily, I do not drive here, so I do not share their worry, but I have ridden in cars and buses through the thick mist. I would not want to be behind the wheel.
Still, despite the cold and the inconvenience, there is something magical about it. This city is old and the architecture already inspires with crumbling facades and narrow, cobblestone alleys. The centre of town cannot be thought of in two-dimensions, but rather you must account for the height of your destination as well as the names of the roads that cross it most closely. Stand high enough (an easy thing to do) and you can see the sea stretch into the horizon.
And then the fog. It crawls from the sea, tendrils slipping into the streets and alleys. It works it way from the docks, past the rough parts of town, ever stretching towards the heart. Then those tall views are lost behind mist and the cobble alleys become something from a penny dreadful. The city quiets, holding its breath beneath the blanket, anticipating something terrible, or wonderful.
From my window, nestled safely beneath my duvet, a warm cup of coffee in my hand, I see all this and more. The vacant church across the street seems ripe for some dark figure to crouch there, in the mist, searching for prey. Or maybe it will be a winged savior instead.
I watch the mist and hold my breath.