I must have taken this journey hundreds of times. The railway crossing over the Firth of Forth, rumbling through the three red diamonds of the Rail Bridge.
The train window frames a changing canvas of sea and sky as weather formations dance in constant flux. Bright, clear days offer sunlight stained, glassy blues which stretch to the horizon, punctuated by the islands of Inchcolm, Inchmickery and Inchkeith. The abandoned World War II fortifications of Inchgarvie, lie directly underneath the bridge. Hollowed out shells, windows like mouths of gaping teeth, now colonised by seabirds. The gulls ascend to hover on the updraughts, peering into the train window, before coasting off and plummeting seaward – racing gravity. On certain days, a tang of salt air permeates the hermetically sealed train carriage.
There is an excitement in looking out and observing the great diagonal smears of rain advancing up the estuary. Slabs of smudged grey – coming this way. Tumultuous skies billowing with angry clouds blown in by sea winds. The theatre of watching the weather arrive.
However, I have never experienced conditions such as observed this week. (Thursday 26th July c. 2.30 pm). A spectacular form of haar (coastal sea fog) appeared to manifest from nowhere on an otherwise relatively ‘sunny day’. Not so much the haar rolling in but an almost supernatural manifestation.
From the railway bridge over the Forth
a blue-tinged wash of elemental greys.
Sea and sky bleed
into a Rothko memory
Taken just a few moments later, you can see some of the river tugs off to the right. The oil terminal at Hound Point is just emerging from the glaur, as the blue starts to break through again.
I posted the above photographs on twitter and a couple of days later Bob Reid sent me this one. Same place, different time.
The Forth: always different, always the same.
Now playing: James Yorkston – When the Haar Rolls In.
11 replies on “An Almost Supernatural Manifestation…”
What a lovely thing to encounter on turning on the computer on a Monday morning. A splendid piece of writing.
Thanks Ann. Glad you liked it.
You have conjured perfectly the strangeness of those days of haar, with its other-wordly light and sense of immanence, as though there is indeed something supernatural just beyond our view. Which, in a way, there always is.
Thanks Ian. Wonderfully put about the strangeness of the haar and that intangible ‘something’ just beyond our view.
Experienced a couple of instances of this sea fog: once on the coast in northern Suffolk; another at West Wittering in Sussex. There’s a sense in which things are both revealed and obliterated by these fogs which do indeed seem to come out of nowhere. It’s both of these things that give these fogs a supernatural quality.
Thanks Paul and good to hear of your encounters. And yes – both the revealed/obliterated dimension.
Lovely post. Those ghostly colours are incredible!
Thanks Matt. Complete chance. Just snapped a bunch with the phone from the train and luckily a few came out.
What soft, gentle images. The spectrum of cloud and pastels changes with such subtlety and patience. Even though – should the sun be cruel enough to appear – the air and water would quickly evaporate, it now gives the impression that the shadows will loiter in their gray and lavender beauty forever.
Thank you Aubrey. Beautifully put.
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