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The Fog in San Francisco

Sunsets in the desert, spring in New England, black-green oaks lying on tawny hills in Marin County, fields of cotton on red soil in Georgia, surf on the rocks of Maine, moonlight on Mobile Bay, and the way the fog comes upon San Francisco on summer afternoons.

Sometimes when all its hills lie sparkling in the sunshine and children play on the sidewalks, young fellows whistle, business autos go zippity-ip around the corners, and the whole city is out of doors or hanging out of the windows, then suddenly in great billows the fog comes rolling in through the Golden Gate, and between the hills right up the streets into the city.

Then immediately all is changed and everything is nearer and more intimate and nothing of the city is left but the street you're on. Then you hurry home for supper and home seems good and sometimes you even light a little fire in the grate.

Still it is not a cold fog, it is not a wet fog, it is never an unkind fog. It comes swiftly, but very gently, and lays its cool, dainty hand on your face lovingly. Hands are so different, sticky or wet or clammy or hot, but the hand of the San Francisco fog is the hand of a kind nurse on a tired head. The rain is a beautiful thing too, but the fog has another significance. - It is the "small rain" that Moses spoke of - "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."

It is very beautiful too. My, but I've seen fogs that were ugly, and heard the fisherman say "She's pretty thick tonight." San Francisco fog is not like that, but like great billows of a bride's veil. Then in the morning when the sun comes it chases the bride and her veil out so fast, and they go out to sea together, sunshine and fog.

The other morning I awakened very early and there in the square of my window was a hard, black cube against a white background. I lay there and blinked and wondered where that telephone pole had come from, which like Jack's beanstalk, had grown there overnight. Then I saw that the fog had shut out the whole world and brought that pole close, and made it seem big and formidable and ugly.

The fog makes some people lose their perspective, and for others it only wraps with a great kindness the whole world and blots out all ugliness. But upon everyone, upon the just and unjust, this San Francisco fog lays its gentle hand lovingly and with an ineffable kindness.

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