A Different Creature

“The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.”
—carl sandburg

Sandburg got the fog thing wrong. Clearly, the venerated Chicago poet never spent a summer in Marin. If he had, he would have seen that there’s nothing kitty-cat-like about the billowy mass that rises threateningly above the bay.

Our fog, smothering the water, burying the 746-foot-high towers of the Golden Gate, occluding the Headlands, doesn’t purr. There’s no mewing. If our fog has a sound, it’s the assertive growl of the chill wind that haunts its leading edge—a brusque, brisk reminder that most summer nights our small corner of sunny California surrenders to a meteorological leviathan that rises, quite literally, from the ocean deep.

Little cat feet? No, Mr. Sandburg. An unruly bestial stampede? Yes, that’s more like it.

The spectacle fascinates us and fog-watching is a favorite pastime. The best vantage points provide context for the struggle—the fog forcing its way onshore, overcoming the barriers of the hills and infiltrating the reaches of the East Bay. One such spot is Old St. Hilary’s Open Space Preserve above Tiburon. There the makings of man—beautiful homes, a yacht club and the entire city of Belvedere—wait in sunshine (on their silent haunches, perhaps) for the monstrous gray mass soon to overwhelm them.