16 March 2009


Ah, devoted readers (yes, the both of you), your most humble correspondent apologizes for not posting for some time now, having been humbled by a serious respiratory infection, accompanied by bronchitis and asthma. It has been six days since he left the house - and that was an emergency clinic visit. Although the antibiotics are undoubtedly working, the rate of improvement is slower than the national economy's recovery speed. Yesterday was the first that the mental fog had parted whatsoever, and that briefly, and it was also the first day awake more than an hour at a time.

Normally therapy might have included a hot pad on the chest but we've no idea which of the remaining 500 or so boxes might contain it. Given the gorgeous landscape vistas available, I might have bundled up and ensconced meself on the couch where the various interplays of light would have produced pleasure and amusement - alas, the rooms with the great views, the dining room and the den, are unnavigable due to the piles of boxes and furniture - not only was no surface available for your writer's posterior, there was no way to insert said posterior into either room (since one normally keeps their eyes closed in a bedroom, we chose that room partly because it is the most lacking in views).

The last items I unpacked before crumbling related to the television - and mindless entertainment (OK, OK, its not entertainment, its brainwashing - but the fogged mind needed a clean as well) would have been an appropriate supplement to the medical therapies. Alas, Not all of the parts were ever uncovered and even if the TV was alive and speaking, there is no place to position it - or position myself to watch it in the den.

When dwelling in coastal Fife, it is impossible to ignore the 'haars' that roll off of the North Sea and onto land, swallowing castles and bridges like a giant monster, only to spit them forth again later. Those haars were a defining character of our wee neuk of Scotland, elusive, unpredictable, ill-defined and beautiful. When walking in the countryside through a dense haar, there a are huge patches of light and dark which glide silently past the spectator; almost certainly Bonnie Dundee rides within these yet.

Although an enjoyment of fog was developing slowly for your author, there was only the foggiest notion of the actual aesthetic appreciation which would heighten the intellectual experience. That remained for our friend from northern California, photographer Kerik Kouklis to deepen. Kerik is certainly one of the greatest and most practiced photographers of fog in the entire history of photography; only he could clarify fog's meaning and potential. Kerik was invited to Scotland to address the Royal Photographic Society's Scottish Branch and our time with him allowed rapid maturation in the fog aesthetic. Thank you, Kerik. Check out his web site's "square" gallery to see some finely focused fog photographs.

Today begins the fifth consecutive day of fog at Stratheden Farm. Although unable to position meself optimally, the occasional accidental view when briefly eating or sourcing hot liquids downstairs was rewarding, to say the least. The fogs of rural Kentucky rose out of the creeks and rivers and sat, as immobile as fat cats, on the land. Haars of Fife were dynamic, moving, boiling and marching forth from the sea and might encompass your reality for as long as three days. Neither compares to the variety and action of the Blue Ridge fogs. The ephemeral displays of moisture made visible are amazingly dynamic, performing for those who receive satisfaction from them. These last five days, when my eyes have been open and a proper window available, have been intensely rewarding. Had I been well, perhaps hundreds of exposures on film might have been achieved; as it happened, a few fast digital shots form the sole record, alas.

Well, my friend, there remains little energy within me and thus this essay closes, it being time once more to sleep.

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