A Persistent Misty Mantle

A Persistent Misty Mantle
Million dollar view

A million dollar view...West Penobscot Bay (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

The month of May began taking shape in such splendid form, graciously hosting spring’s profuse passion for green at every turn.

Coastal landscapes had come alive with color – their vitality restored after a long, hard winter. All the while Maine’s harbors, inspired by the allure of spring’s warm overtures, witnessed an energetic hustle scampering about the decks of vessels big and small.

This seaside poetry begged to be embraced – a cheery invitation we were all too eager to accept with open arms.

But suddenly – and without a hint of the near-future to come, the season’s vivid qualities were doused by a cover of tiny droplets that filled the air and blotted out familiar vistas along the coast.

Fog, long the bane of the mariner – and often times a drag on the spirits of coastal residents, had set in by the third week of May.

Fog detector

For fog's eyes only...VM-100 fog detector at Marshall Point Light (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Unbeknownst at the time, it was as if the misty shroud had ordered all forms of radiance banished deep into the vacuum of dreariness so that its gray countenance could preside over an undisturbed world of glum.

Just how long the sun would continue to remain in a foggy exile was anyone’s guess at the time.

As it turned out, the sun would not make a meaningful appearance for well over a week. Blue skies and the warm rays of the sun fast became a distant memory. The duration of the unbroken misty blight weighed heavy on the minds of many, dampening their spirits under a moisture-laden shroud.

Yet this is Maine, and fog, as gloomy as it can be, is as much a part of spring traditions as the sun itself – though don’t try telling that to those, who by now, have had their fill of the impenetrable vapor wall!

For all that fog wholly blots out visually – there is a beautiful side to it as well, which is what I tried to focus on during some recent treks along the coast.

Owls Head Harbor

Closing in fast...fog envelopes Owls Head Harbor (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Watching from water’s edge, I admired the unpredictable, yet rhythmic motion of the fog. It’s rise and fall was effortless – and always with a touch of grace. One look at the sea in front of me revealed fog’s translucent demeanor, which may diffuse all bright light, but invariably, also has a profound way of inducing a soothing calm upon the brine.

With misty droplets accumulating on my face, further pondering allowed for an odd appreciation of this near colorless world.

For all the gray and white doused about the seascape, there is something beautiful about fog’s murky simplicity. Other than the confining boundaries of these opaque moments, all other distractions have been blotted out, leaving only those objects close enough, to esteem.

Of course, my favorite part of being immersed in these misty shrouds is the opportunity to experience the retaliation of an equally determined force – the fog horn!

Rockland Breakwater

The sun has been so scarce of late, its only trace was a rare "footprint" (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

In this “battle” by the sea, fog assumes the role of foe for the mariner, and a light station’s sound signal becomes the gallant warrior who never fails to blast an audible warning through the thick wall of vapor.

Granted, fog horns may no longer be as highly valued during times of shrouded visibility as they once were, but thankfully some traditions – including this familiar sound of the sea, die hard.

The steady “voices” of Penobscot Bay’s horns bellowed out their warnings over the sea throughout much of the foggy week. Each time I listened to these powerful tones and felt the misty air on my face, I was reminded of what a great place coastal Maine is to live and enjoy – even during times of fog when there isn’t much to see.

By the way, anyone seen the sun? :)

Flat calm

The elegance of sail under a misty shroud...Rockland Breakwater Light (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Seaweed

During a world of foggy gray in the air, the only color to be found was when one looked down (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Tidal pool

A tidal pool delight (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Underwater canvas

An artistic underwater canvas to inspire (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Tossed salad

A tossed "salad" courtesy of the ebb tide (Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.)

Marshall Point

The persistent fog finally starts to lift on the evening of May 24, 2011 (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)

Marshall Point Lighthouse

The setting sun transformed the atmosphere into a beautiful salmon color at Marshall Point Light on the evening of May 24, 2011 (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)

Light cuts through the fog

The light at Marshall Point cuts through the remaining fog on 5/24/11 (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)

Glum on the run

Fog and its glum countenance is on the run over Port Clyde (Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani)