Here is the next installment from Beatrice Allen Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape with Figures:
‘We’ve been muffled by fog for two days now and it shows no sign of burning off. This is considered just cause for complaint by almost everybody. Grievances are aired in the News Shop, the post office, the market, wherever two or more people happen to meet.
I, too, pretend to grumble so that I won’t be looked upon as one of those irritating people who always see a bright side to everything. Actually, I like the fog. I like the hush of it. I like the feeling of anonymity it gives me. I can be anyone or anything. Or I can imagine myself as invisible as Siegfried wearing his Tarnhelm. And because the landscape is partly hidden from view, I pretend when I go for a walk that I don’t know what I’m going to come upon next, what unexpected house or tree or turn in the road. Sometimes I really am surprised – the fog makes me see something long familiar in a different way, just as a picture does.
Walking over to the harbor this morning, I felt as if an ancient Chinese scroll were being unrolled before my eyes. Against the background of fog, the landscape was brushed in with light, deft strokes, like ink on silk.
Only the boats moored closest to the shore were visible. The fog had blotted out all reflections in the water, of course, and the sailboats looked as if they’d been pegged down by their masts to something solid.
When I got home I noticed a whole series of perfect spider webs hung between the posts of the railing on both sides of the front steps. They were so tenuous that I should probably not have seen them if the fog had not superimposed a visible design of moisture on the filaments. Oddly, there was neither a spider nor his hapless prey in any of them. Had the spiders just put out their nets like lobstermen setting out their traps and gone off to wait for a catch?’