Wisps of mist lay across the fields this morning. To have descended from the hill at half past five would have meant being engulfed in a thick greyness. On Sedgemoor, there is a dampness that never quite retreats, those who lived in low-lying cottages in former times would have talked of moistness filling the walls of their houses all the year round. The high moisture content of the walls of farmhouses tended to make the houses cool places, unfriendly to small boys with asthma.
Mist in childhood days might have been something unwelcome, or it might have been the sign of great things to come. Mist here in November is mist of the unpleasant variety, it is a mist that wets you, that chills you, that fills your lungs with an unpleasant coldness. It is a mist that clings and lingers, strong winds and falling rain are preferable to the grey blanket that holds the smoke of fires and every other pollutant in the air
On summer days, though, particularly during the warm days of August when summer is at its height, the mist of the early mornings is something altogether different. August morning mists are the harbinger of warm and bright days and blue skies. Misty mornings are always more welcome than cloudy mornings when the blanket of grey overhead becomes heavier and heavier until a sudden flash of lightning announces and heavy raindrops announce that the weather has broken. Drive along the road here, decide Stembridge hill on the road to Somerton, and the summer mists along lanes too narrow for two cars to pass, will break and disperse fade to reveal lush green meadows or fields of grain or orchards that have again appeared in our cider-drinking county. Going through the mist, there will be glimpses of rabbits and pheasants running for cover from the oncoming car – and, along our road, even occasional glimpses of deer.
Mists were always fascinating. They can make familiar roads mysterious. Shapes can change; houses that you pass every day have a different air about them. Concentrating on the way ahead is always necessary, but in the short field of vision, attention can be drawn to things that have been previously slipped by unnoticed. It seems odd that mist, something that obscures things, can sharpen your awareness of their existence.
Summer mist is a shrouding, but also a foreshadowing of a glorious day. The mist this morning was neither summer nor winter. When will the sunshine return?