The little things

On the walk to the kid’s school this morning, it was foggy, an unusual treat for the high desert. On both sides of the path, there were dozens of little spider webs, flecked with dew and suspended at various jaunty angles; the soft light made them sparkle against the muted browns and greens behind them.

It was magical; a gentle breeze made them wave just a bit, and each one was slightly imperfect and unique, some empty, some dotted with the morning’s meal caught the night before. Amazing on the wildflowers as well; the ones still in bloom sparkled just a bit, and the ones that were drying out looked like they had ice crystals on them.

I was hoping the fog would last long enough for me to get home and grab a camera so I could do some experiments, but by the time I started walking back I could see that we had been in a little inverted ricebowl of fog just a couple of blocks in diameter, the rest of the world around us was already bathed in the shamelessly optimistic late summer sun.

When we were in the fog it was easy to imagine the whole world was the same, just as surely as the whole world must be sunny when everything is clear from horizon to cloudless horizon. The tiny dewdrops dried almost instantly, and without the softer light the fog created, the webs were almost invisible. If we hadn’t been admiring them 90 seconds earlier before the fog burnt off we wouldn’t have even known they were there.

I saw about 10 other people on the round trip. 5 of them were schoolboys on bikes, shouting to each other and racing to school. They didn’t see the dew. Another was a sporty young mother, also on a bike, hauling her toddler in a cool REI bike trailer. She maintained an impressive pace and the kid looked like he was really enjoying the wind on his face, but they missed the spider webs and dewey wildflowers. 2 of them were women we see most mornings, out for their brisk daily walks. Eyes focused on the horizon, sunglasses and earbuds firmly in place, they were about their morning’s work and nothing else. The school crossing guard mentioned that she was enjoying the unusual foggy scenery, but the grass and weeds are mowed down as you get closer to the school, so there was no dew art anywhere nearby.

There are about 70,000 people in Santa Fe, something like 7,000 people in my stupid little subdivision, about 12 of us who were out on this little stretch of the walking/biking path while this fog/web was happening. And out of those 12, only 2 were stopping even occasionally to appreciate the fragile and temporary show. Stuff like that always makes me a little scared of just how much I must be missing each day, even when I’m walking right by it. At least we didn’t miss this one.

When I got home, the Comcast cable had gone down yet again. It’s back up now, but I guess that’s also kind of fragile and temporary.