Fog coats the air and the surface of the land. A few birds sing from the blurry distance. There is a chill in the air that coats the surface of my hands. It's the kind of morning when one wonders what is out there, beyond what one can see. Fog inspires questions even as it blinds.
The dog stays close as we walk through the early dim light. His ears are pointed to the sky; his eyes constantly scanning the immediate horizon. Sometimes he gives me reason to pause, as he pauses to assess something he has heard or smelled that I cannot. Moments pass, and we continue down the graveled road.
As the hour grows, the surrounding light gets a little brighter, even though the fog seems to thicken. A slight breeze picks up. More birds can be heard, but they don't sound like they are singing, not like they do on those initial warm Spring days when the sunlight glistens off plants following a rain shower.
Occasionally, through the fog, I can hear the sound of a pump jack pulling oil from the ground down in the bottomlands. It takes a bit of atmospheric cooperation for this to occur in the rolling terrain that surrounds the ranch. Sometimes, locating the direction of a distant sound here can be rather confusing due to topography; at others the direction of a noise is easily discernible. I wonder if this occasionally confuses other animals as well.
As the fog grows thicker and my fingers grow colder, my mind begins to fill with visions of the sequel I intend to begin writing next year. I imagine Longlifes appearing in numbers from the fog before me, or perhaps camouflaged in such a way that only their outline is visible as they move: ghosts of a past being revisited, ghosts that will still haunt my protagonist and perhaps come to haunt his child as well.
There is a mystery waiting to be written within and beyond the fog, an illumination that can only be had by venturing into it, better to get my fingers moving again than to let them sit idle for too long.