The fog surrounded us like tulle…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a simile from Gabrielle Selz…

I frequently enjoy the Opinionator pieces published by the New York Times.  I’d made notes on one read I’d read back in September (Sept 2/15) headlined “The Way They Were.” In it, writer and art critic Gabrielle Selz tells the story of her parents’ varying approaches to life and death.

Her mother, shy and retiring, died quietly of Alzheimer’s. Her father, brash and famous — and still alive — is the former chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Famous enough to have earned a longish blurb in the Dictionary of Art Historians, the 96-year-old Peter Selz (shown above, with his daughter) is taking a different approach to the end of his life. He’s orchestrating it. Recently, he took his family on a hike, prior to viewing his gravesite.

Here is how his daughter described the event:


Under the live oak trees the sky was lavender, the rain only misting our cheeks. My father, with his slow gait, brought up the rear, not following so much as herding us along. The fog surrounded us like tulle. We couldn’t see up ahead. Except for my son, we were a flock of seven women being steered by an old man.

I love that simile, “the fog surrounded us like tulle.” So sophisticated. So apt. I also appreciate her description of the sky as “lavender” (what a perfect word!) and of the way her father “herded” the family along. Fabulous descriptive writing. I think I might have to read Gabrielle Selz’s book, Unstill Life.

Scroll to Top