People get excited when Christmas draws near for different reasons. For some, it’s the anticipation of gifts, bonuses and the mandatory 13th month pay (did you know, by the way, that the Philippines is the only country with a mandatory 13th month pay?). For others, it’s the thought of holidays — no work, no school and lots of parties.
For me, the biggest attraction of the Christmas season is the cool weather. Christmas weather is, for me, the most wonderful weather in the entire year. During my freshman year in U.P., I had a 7.00 a.m. class. When the Christmas weather crept in, I would stand on the balcony of the fourth floor of Palma Hall before my 7.00 a.m. class and watch the mist descend from the treetops to the grass below. To me, it was one of the most beautiful sights I ever saw.
Those in the northern and southern hemispheres where winters can be harsh might find it hard to appreciate — but I love mists and fog. I really do. I know that mists and fogs have been used in horror movies to create a creepy atmosphere but, for me, mists and fogs are eerie and mysterious but in a romantic way. Everything looks softer with a dreamlike quality that just makes me smile and sigh and wish that I could capture the moment and make time stand still.
It’s one of the perks of living in a hilly suburb. We get mists and fog — not haze that city folk get. The photo above was taken on the evening of November 5, the week when it rained everyday. I wish that I could have captured the fog better but that was the best I could do — I was in a hurry as I did not want to expose the camera outdoors. Mists and fogs are bad for cameras because the moisture can affect the mechanisms inside them. Except for the resizing and the addition of a signature, the photo is untouched. I didn’t use filters and it wasn’t Photoshopped for enhancement either. The yellowish glow is from the yellow bulbs in the street lamps.
But, anyway, I was talking about the fog. We had fog from the early evening of November 5 all through the following morning. When I took that shot, the fog was thick enough so that the houses some fifty meters down the road were only partially visible. But why do I call it a fog and not a mist? According to the “Federal Meteorological Handbook Number 1: Chapter 8 – Present Weather” from the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology:
a. Mist. A visible aggregate of minute water particles suspended in the atmosphere that reduces visibility to less than 7 statute miles but greater than or equal to 5/8 statute miles.
b. Fog. A visible aggregate of minute water particles (droplets) which are based at the Earth’s surface and reduces horizontal visibility to less than 5/8 statute mile and, unlike drizzle, it does not fall to the ground.
I used a converter and 5/8 statute mile is roughly equal to one kilometer. So, if you can see less than a kilometer through “aggregate of minute water particles suspended in the atmosphere”, it is a fog. If you can see farther than one kilometer, it is a mist. In short, a fog is thicker than a mist. Since the houses fifty meters down the road were only partially visible and everything beyond about seventy meters could no longer be seen, we had fog on the evening of November 5. But even if I didn’t know the difference between a fog and a mist, it was still a beautiful night anyway.