Fog Walk

It’s foggy tonight, and the air is filled with ice plankton.

It’s hypnotic. I spent a long time out there with my headlamp pointed toward the opalescent smudge in the sky where the moon would be, holding my breath and watching the stream of sparkling night move by my face.

I tried to keep from breathing (this was not so much a case of “I can see my breath” as it was a case of smokestack), but air trickled in a slow stream from behind my teeth and entered the current like milk, pure white, swirling and discombobulating the glittering particles drifting by in the blackness.

When I had to breathe, my vision was obscured completely by the gust.

Once, walking here, I turned back and walked a while in my own footsteps, observing the way my breath clouds hung behind me like forgotten thoughts: cottonballs stapled to a springtime bulletin board, left behind through the summer to bear witness to the silence of the schoolhouse.

I have never felt so strangely intoxicated without being intoxicated. I have never felt so much a tributary in a vast, spherical watershed.

Today marks two years exactly since I first arrived in Alaska. What a brilliant and utterly new gift to receive on the occasion.

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