Foggy Memories of Freshman Year

Hello to everyone reading this! Despite what my title might imply, I assure you that the memory I’m going to be writing about in this update is only foggy in the most literal of senses. Namely, when asked about a favorite or outstanding memory from my first few months at Whitman College, one particular night sometime around mid to late October stands out far better than any other.

Prior to coming to Whitman, I had been led to believe that I could expect Walla Walla to be exceedingly dry – what I learned was that the people who had told me this place was dry were largely from Seattle or Portland, where it rains a whole lot more than here. To my dry, desert, Nevadan sensibilities, Walla Walla was wet. I remember coming in from the “rain” one day – rain here is read as faint but constant drizzle – to profess to my section mates that I couldn’t believe how wet it was outside, and that I didn’t understand how it could keep raining for so long. Not realizing that rain in other parts of the country than Nevada lasts longer than my standard two or three minutes of moisture, more spray than actual rain, I was of course met with blank stares and incredulity.

While I later got used to the idea that Walla Walla was wetter than I had been led to believe, when a Junior friend of mine from Nevada told me that it got not just wet, but foggy, I absolutely didn’t believe him. I wrote his words off to the typical Nevadan sensibilities I just mentioned, where absolutely any sort of moisture in the air = an absolute downpour (to this day, I still refer to Walla Walla as humid). Of course, this turned out to not be the case, not in the slightest. The night in question, around 1 or 2 in the morning, I was finally getting ready to go to sleep after a long night of homework, and had already taken my glasses off when I happened to walk into my section lounge and glance out at Ankeny. After a quick double-take, I realized that something didn’t look quite right, even to my pathetically poor eyesight. I ran back to my room and got my glasses, slid them on, and when I returned to the section lounge window, I was basically dumbfounded.

FOG. WALLA WALLA GETS FOG. And not just any fog, not just any thin mist of moisture in the air – this was a full on soup, a veritable haze you could barely see fifty fee through in the darkness of 1 or 2 in the morning. Without a second though, and still in my pajamas, I ran downstairs and outside into the transformed world. It was absolutely breathtaking. The entire campus seemed somehow different, the glow of lights from dorm buildings, lamps or the library all cast halos of light into the darkness. I felt like I had woken up and found the campus shifted, familiar and yet entirely out of place, the kind of sensation that one only gets in a dream of the waking, normal world. I spent at least an hour wandering around in the fog, marveling at the frigid, wet haze. Ever since then, although I’ve gotten slightly more used to the fog around here, I always make sure to walk out and enjoy the sudden whitewash of the campus air as much as I can. After all, to a Nevadan, that much moisture in the air is nothing short of supernatural.

Best, and may you all have a likewise amazing experience in your year.

— Kevin


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