They seep into my bedroom at five in the morning — two long moaning tones every 15 seconds. I pull aside the blinds and look out upon a thick white gauze masking the darkness — a scene from a ghostly movie in slow motion, out of focus.
The fog has arrived. It signals a time of quietude when my planetary space returns to me sans tourists clogging the lanes, crowding the shores with blankets, umbrellas and chairs.
I take a walk in early afternoon, the air is salty and moist. Silence surrounds me except for the screeching birds feeding upon bread crumbs thrown into the air by an elderly couple.
“We save the ends of our loaves for them,” the woman says. “And this time of year is especially nice, with the fog.”
About three o’clock, I watch the boats returning to the Marina — at least 40 are slowly motoring back to their slips. There’s Tight Squeeze, Blue Water Sailing, and Chutzpah skimming the water, their sails tied down except for a lone yellow, orange and red billowing spinnaker. Sailors aboard sport heavy jackets, gloves and wool caps. The ocean’s winds must be icy. At the breakwater, a flag hangs limp and dead, with an occasional shudder. In the ethereal haze, its vivid red, white and blue pales into washed-out watercolors.
The Betty O churns down the channel, trailed by hundreds of shrieking, squawking gulls and pelicans circling above, plummeting into the water, scavenging for bits of bait and entrails from the day’s catch.
As the fog thickens to shadowy grays, the air chills and darkness descends. Along the jetty, families of fishermen pack up their gear and bundle up children shivering on bikes and trikes, eager to leave. It’s time to go.
Warm at home with a mug of hot tea, I reflect upon the past year’s events — from the loss of my mother after years of illness and decline to the transcendent joy of spending an hour only ten feet away from a family of Ugandan mountain gorillas.
My only dream for the year to come is for the beginnings of peace somewhere in our world — anywhere.
Overwhelmed with gratitude, I realize how fortunate I am to be living in Marina del Rey, where tonight, sleep will be safe and peaceful, with the moaning foghorn singing to me, a lullaby in A minor.
Carl Sandburg said it best:
“The fog comes on little cat feet.
It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.”