Saturday, January 14, 2006


Ice Fog

Unless you've seen one, it's hard to describe what an ice fog is. Here's how it works. When it's zero or minus a few degrees, the unfrozen water of Cook Inlet warms up the cold dry air sitting above it. The warmer air has a higher dewpoint, meaning moisture is sucked out of the water into the air, forming a fog. Since it is very cold, the moisture doesn't condense as a liquid, but immediately crystallizes out as minute ice particles, which stay suspended.

In the morning, a light breeze pushes the fog onshore. We live far enough inland that it takes a couple hours before the ice fog envelops us. As it rolls in, we'll see a heavy black cloud appear low on the western horizon. It appears to rise up in the sky (actually, it is just moving closer and closer). Eventually the hills across our creek valley disappear and finally it shrouds us in gray. You can also feel a slight temperature rise inside the fog - it's always a few degrees warmer.

Then, if you watch carefully, you can see everything slowly turn white and thicken. Not from above like in a snowfall, but from every side - even underneath. Even the littlest twigs on the leafless aspen trees get thicker and thicker as the ice builds up all around them, magnifying them. All the trees slowly turn into dramatic white ice sculptures. They look as if they've grown billions of tiny white needles.

A few of these pictures sort of show the effects, but I've looked at quite a few photos from Google Images and didn't find anything that does justice to what's outside my own window right now. Maybe tomorrow morning, while the moon is still full in the northwest and the sun is just coming up in the southeast, I'll go outside and try to snap a few pix before the next fog rolls in, and post them here tomorrow.

I scratched at my poor cello and made him squeal for a couple hours today. A little progress. I did try to pay attention to using the full bow as much as possible. It helped me play some of the triplet quarter note slurs a little better. I also tried holding my left hand like Eric Edberg's videos, palm parallel to floor, forearm slightly elevated, elbow hanging loose, fingers angled. I seemed to hit the notes better, whenever I remembered to do it right. It will take a long time to be able to do it without having to make an effort.

My Suzuki books and CDs came today from Shar Music. I read one of the companion books about Suzuki's methods and the status of the system today. I'm a little nervous about having to go back to playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star variations for several weeks. Is my teacher going to make me go start over playing pizzicato only? Tomorrow, I'll start listening to the first CD. I guess I'll also do some work on the pizzicato, too.

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