We became connoisseurs of fog. We came to know its flavors, its changing moods. We felt it protected us, walled us in from the tides and the world beyond them. After all, we hadn’t come to live on a two-mile-long island for nothing. Isolation suited us – twenty-one students, a caretaker, and a handful of professors. Here we had everything we needed: our work, our oversized rubber boots, our tea for when it got really cold. Beyond all this was the fog. Beyond the fog was the Bay of Fundy, a boundless gray space where tides are among the most powerful on earth.
Day after day, the fog rolled in. As it crept toward us across the sunlit fields, we felt as if we were leaving the world.
The fog here on Kent Island, a biological field station run by Bowdoin College, has been studied since the 1940s, when Bob Cunningham installed a fantastical contraption he called a fogcatcher. He called himself a fogseeker. Long after his death, students continued to collect his data on Kent Island. We measured the temperature, the wind speed, the rainfall. Quantifying all this made the island feel real, less like a place we’d all dreamed up.
Still, it’s hard to believe that Kent Island is still out there somewhere, now that I have left it. I imagine getting in the car and pointing myself toward that place, driving the length of Maine and into Canada, to the little run-down harbor where you catch the ferry; I imagine getting on and making for Grand Manan Island and standing on its eastern shore waiting for the second boat that takes you on to Kent. But maybe it would no longer be out there in the gray bay. Maybe there would be only the waves, the most powerful tides on earth, washing against the rockweed. Beyond them, nothing but fog.