One of my favorite parts on living the rural life is the drive. Don’t get me wrong — it is a complete pain to have to go 20 miles to buy diapers or a missing ingredient for supper due to poor planning, but, for the most part, living away from others is peaceful.
The work commute is just about the only time I can listen to the radio and sort of relax. But there are moments when even the drive takes a turn to the weird.
Foggy evenings can be especially creepy. It’s eerie since the lack of lights, or lines on the road can make the drive seem like you are driving into an abyss. When the fog is about four or five feet off the ground, and drive a sedan, it’s like sailing through clouds via some sort of pirate ship or fighter jet for a StarFleet. You can see the road, the fog is about level with your head, so you are just skimming underneath. It’s a pretty cool effect.
If you roll down your window, the silence is pervasive since the mist also muffles sound. It causes your mind to wander into the realm of “what if’s”. I am 100 percent certain the first time I will see a bear in this area it will be under these conditions. Will it cause me to stop the car to do a double take? Maybe; but the more likely scenario is that I will completely panic and will floor the accelerator to use the car as a battering ram in my effort to flee.
Those foggy drives, with just a tunnel of light from your headlights also tend to invite you to rethink your position on some things. Like the possibility of Big Foot existing. Or the Mothman. Aliens. Or packs of feral coyotes who will chew off your bumper if you get stranded. I have a friend in southeastern Ohio who has had problems with feral hogs on her property — I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to encounter a herd of those on a dark foggy roadside.
It also evokes every single horror movie you ever watched as a kid, and the villain in each. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Children of the Corn; I once saw a movie that involved a woman and child screaming in terror as they were driving their car down a country road — on a foggy night. Their car was being attacked by a gargoyle. I remember that scene every single time and find myself checking the moon roof repeatedly.
I was in this sort of mindset recently when the phone rang, I pulled off into the drive of a tractor barn to answer; after the call ended, I started to put the car in gear when out of the corner of my eye, motion was seen. I turned my head and nearly imploded. Less than four inches from me was an older man with a grizzled beard and a dark cap looking in the car window.
Unbeknownst to me, I had parked near his house and when he saw the hazards lights blinking, he came out to see if we needed help. His act of kindness nearly required scraping me off the ceiling of the car.
I apologized for his inconvenience, he laughed and apologized for my now shortened life span. Now, every time we drive past his house, I smirk a bit. When it is dark and foggy, I drive my StarFleet fighter jet past his property with the notation of a friendly life form on planet farmhouse and sail on into the night.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.