I opened my door one morning to a vaguely thick layer of frigid gray fog. My charcoal-colored car, which was parked out front, barely emerged from the winter-like surroundings. I thought to myself that it hadn’t been this foggy this far inland in a while.
As I made my way down my apartment steps towards my car, a felt a small smile creep onto my face. It felt like it was now officially autumn, and not what felt like the perpetual summer, with brief pauses that allowed a chilly breeze, that most Southern Californians were accustomed to experiencing. I didn’t want to jinx it by grabbing a jacket, but I did think about all the sweaters I could now break out of the small “winter” section of my closet.
I managed to climb inside my car after tossing my work bag and lunch on the passenger’s seat and then carefully placed my computer up against the back. I jammed my key into the ignition and quickly backed up out of my parking space, out through the battery-operated gate, and out onto the street.
I fumbled with my phone for a second trying to find one of the songs that were stuck inside my head that morning while I was getting dressed. I figured I set my Spotify to play all of the singer, Kacy Musgraves,’ songs on shuffle that the song I was thinking about would eventually come up. It never did, but as the subtle twang from Musgraves’ guitar on, “The Trailer Song,” began to unfold I found my mind wandering into the past.
My thoughts were transported back to the cold winter mornings in Hanford, CA before school when I would take my time getting ready for school and listen to my mom’s radio as it played 90’s country songs. I would sing along and wait for the commercial breaks when they would announce the schools that issued fog delays. I would cross my fingers knowing that it would never apply to me.
The private school I went to allow the kids who lived out of town in the wide-open spaces in the countryside to come in two hours late. I knew that from driving along the back roads out there that the fog seemed to pool together in a thicker paste when there were fewer buildings to break up the gloomy gray soup. Still, I would wait for the moments in between those twangy tunes to hear if I would be able to come to school later.
That morning in the car on the way to work in the fog I listened to country songs and was flooded with the memories of winters long since passed. The lingering moisture that gathered in the air has always done that to me. Perhaps a bit of the past was carefully mixed in along with the misty fog too.