Fog in the Valley

19 June 2009 at 9:09 am




When there’s morning fog in our valley – as there is today – I go inside. I can no longer see the sacred mountains my activist neighbours saved from logging with fierce campaigns in the seventies and eighties.


My daily glimpse of a politicised landscape to remind me what’s important.


What we’re fighting to save.


My forest.


Even my tiny glimpse of the neighbours is blocked this morning. The fog even seems to silence our tiny ephemeral creek that, this year, is running in the so-called ‘dry’ season.


I go inside.


I stay by my window, inside my memories.


I sit at my desk looking into a wide, grey expanse. Breathe. Then it all comes back.


Vancouver fog in my home town.


I grew up on the boundary of a big city, right at the edge of a dark forest. Most mornings I awoke to the sound of fog and foghorns…





Hoooo hoo.



There were no trees in my suburb. The original forest had been shredded and pummelled flat in response to someone’s unrealistic expectation of building a landing field for small planes. I could not see single living tree growing by the new houses. Not one, not a single one.


In the early days, in the forties, when the houses were brand new, the mountain lions … or were they cougars..? who could say? … still crept down from their forest lairs and along the river banks and wandered the dark winding streets.


Afraid of them and their wildness, prudent householders barred their doors against their shadow-presence. They dreamed of chasing them back to the river. Chasing them back to the remaining vestiges of forest high on the mountain.



After some research, I discovered why we had so much fog in Norgate Park in the early days.


The sawmill not far from our place was still operating and there were few controls on emissions in the forties and fifties.


When the sawmill closed down (they’d cut down all the forests), the fog stopped.


No more mournful foghorn tones in the morning.


But I was gone by then – to seek adventures elsewhere.


What do these musings have to do with fog in Nimbin in 2009?


I’m not exactly sure.


We saved our forests in the Northern Rivers.


Fog is natural in the Rainbow Region.


But this cold winter – colder at night than Vancouver – with frost in the valley- my neighbours – and even our small household – are burning timber in fires and stoves.


How ‘sustainable’ is that?