This past weekend, my town was not only blanketed by fog, but whole walls of fog rose from the ground. Trees, buildings, people were like peppercorns swimming in a white soup. Like a great white whale, the fog swallowed up the landscape and all of us were trapped in its belly.
This past weekend also happened to be the Fire and Ice festival, an annual festival in Rochester, Michigan where the downtown is aglow with lights and ice sculptures are displayed every couple of feet. As with any festival there is food, attractions, and a general festive atmosphere, and so my family and I set out into the milky world and carefully drove to the city.
There were more people than ever this year, probably due to the exceptionally warmer weather, and thus finding a place to park was its own mini-adventure. Finally, we found our car a temporary home and set off to enjoy what the night had to offer.
Because it was so warm, many of the ice sculptures had melted to the point that you couldn’t tell what they originally were supposed to be. The carefully-made details had dripped off, leaving only the general shapes.
We finally made our way to where the fireworks were supposed to be set off, with just minutes to spare. Humanity sprawled all around us and the smell of elephant ears and popcorn filled our noses. The raucous sounds of the crowd drowned out the people speaking on stage until 5…4…3…2…1! Fireworks were set off!
Now ordinarily, when fireworks are set off there is a feeling of awe, of genuine appreciation of the dazzling colors and patterns of the glittering sparks set against the dark night sky. But here, here things were much different.
Because in case you’ve forgotten, it was a very foggy weekend. So foggy it turned out, that the fireworks were essentially not visible.
While cheerful patriotic music played through the speakers on stage, we watched as the walls of fog around us were periodically illuminated by red and green and blue colors. The colors were all that came through the dense fog – the patterns, the fireworks themselves were basically hidden from us.
It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
Here we were, all gathered to witness a gorgeous display of fireworks, and it was all covered by fog! To me, especially since this happened the day after the unfortunate inauguration, this event was a perfect metaphor for the state of our country right now: brilliant lights drowned out by a heavy fog.
And although for now the fog continues to persist and the skies are grey, eventually it must clear.