When temperatures drop suddenly, especially after being weirdly mild, this thing happens sometimes, over open water. I’ve only seen it once before, a couple years ago. I remember looking it up when I got home and learning that the term is steam devils.
And I think that’s it, the extent of the conversation, because it’s too cold for chat and my head is wrapped in several layers of fleece and so is his and we’re at a distance from each other and the dog wants to move on.
So I turn back to my crouching and picture-taking.
“No,” he yells. “Clouds!”
“Right!” I say, and turn back to my crouching.
And he and his dog move on.
I don’t for a minute believe he’s right about this being clouds, especially given that the ‘clouds’ are only over the lake, not the land. But there’s something in the way he shouts “Clouds!”, that tells me he’s not interested in my thoughts.
Evenso, his arrogance and lack of curiosity makes me more curious, makes me want to double-check my own certainty.