life lessons, mindfulness

Let’s Hear It For The Fog


You think I’m kidding?  One of those Mimi-epiphanies yesterday as I was driving home from the mountains.  I watched the fog descend from the tops of the trees, resting its covers on top of the valley.  I was going to drive home under that blanket, so to speak.  Windshield wipers would flap intermittently without rhyme or reason.  Headlights would appear from nowhere; the air swollen and impenetrable.  I already felt a sinus headache coming on.

Better to get it over with and drive.  Packed up the Sirs, found NPR on a station I didn’t recognize and off we went.  We tip-toed down the mountain, acutely aware that every sharp turn is not yet second-hand,  we gently rolled through small towns.  Respectfully and quietly.  You’d never know we were there.

Once on the highways, the sun began to challenge the density of the air.  We were good to go.  And I realized that fog is really given a bad rap.

When in fog, one can only focus on what is in front of you.  There’s no looking for the next curve, anticipating the alternatives that a clear vista provides.  Your primary requirement is to get from point A to point B.  That’s it.  There’s not too much to consider, your eyes don’t look around with wonder and mild confusion at all that is in front of and around you.  No sense looking in your rear-view mirror very often either, for you can’t see anything back there.  True, you can pull over and just succumb to the opaqueness – most keep going.  And get through.

It isn’t the clarity at the end of the journey that I celebrate though.  It’s the process of moving in the mist.  Recognizing that in all that murkiness is the greatest focus one may ever have.  Nothing else teases for your attention, no one can distract you from your purpose.  And it is in those moments of uncompromising concentration, priorities get distilled to the most fundamental.  What matters is only what is before you.  The eye candy, plans for later, the expanded vista of possibility are irrelevant.  Just focus and feel the strength of getting through.  There’s something to be said for that.

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40 thoughts on “Let’s Hear It For The Fog”

  1. I felt like I was going through the fog with you–love the way it focuses you–it is, for the moment, the only thing. I like the way you slipped through towns not leaving a trace as if you were not really there. Sometimes I like to slip through life that way…………..

  2. Can’t believe that you wrote about the fog my friend. This past winter while my dad was dying in the hospital I was caught in the worst fog I had ever seen. While my daughter slept soundly beside me I gripped the steering wheel in fear and kept driving. I did not pull over because my sole purpose was to get to my dad as quickly as I could. And yes, I did make it. Always move forward and concentrate on what’s ahead of you. Xo

    1. Metaphorically and literally – there are times when nothing matters (or should matter) other than what is before you..I get it Lisa, I really do. xo

  3. Brilliant observation mim. For me, I’ve always loved the fog for its haunting quality and have found its gentle cloak of stillness comforting.
    I tend not to focus at all when ensconced (unless I’m driving and then I look like an old woman with a death grip on the wheel and my boobs flattened against the wheel because I tell myself I can see better if my nose is touching the windshield!)
    Other than that I just let the fog take over…become part of the mystery… become one of the things others in the fog wonder about. I’m weird in other words 😉

  4. There is something to be said for just seeing the curve in front of you and nothing beyond. Because the rest is illusory (who knows what it will really look like once we reach it). The fog is a metaphor (and a training camp) for remaining in the moment…a reminder that there is simply no other reasonable place to be!

  5. That you can find the good sense within the low-lying clouds does not surprise me, Mimi.

    Yes. Your revelations are true. The concentration they carry in their gray embrace is good for the mind and other places within. And so wonderfully delivered in the Mimi style I so missed.

    But …

    How I fret when I find I must maneuver unfamiliar paths with sight lines so short in front of my windshield. Fog and blowing snow are my two biggest driving fears, still, no matter how good I feel when they are said and done.

    1. Hi Mark – If you were to put me in blizzard conditions or fog that resembled a grey, impenetrable wall, I think I would feel exactly as you do. I was fortunate in that I was driving in daylight and the fog was thick, but not impassable..Given that caveat, the benefit of requisite focus wasn’t eclipsed by my fear. 🙂

      1. I feel it, Mimi, daylight and some visibilty. Great writing. I imagined the twists of the road and the towns quietly slipping by very well.

  6. Leave it to the Karma Truck Commander to turn a phenomenon that’s potentially menacing into a wonderful life lesson. Loved this post, honey. Found myself hunkering down in my seat with you as we made our way down the mountain, slipped like a phantom through the sleepy towns, and then emerged into the sunlight with a crystalline focus and a renewed sense of wonder. Just lovely… Xxox

  7. good perspective, though you have made me very sleepy… (not your prose–that was lyrical and melodious per usual ;-)–but the scene you were describing) May I take a nap now please?

    Glad you made it down safely!

  8. So beautiful Mimi! And the perfect metaphor for my life right now too. I’m going to embrace the fog and know that there is something wonderful just around the next corner. Namely, more writing from you!!

  9. I love this post, Mimi! “…you can pull over and just succumb to the opaqueness – most keep going. And get through. It isn’t the clarity at the end of the journey that I celebrate though. It’s the process of moving in the mist.” Poetic. Eloquent. Wisdom. Beautiful! Thank you, my friend.

  10. I need to find something to focus on–it’s gotten pretty fragmented, lately….thinking out loud…I need to watch the road!! Which road, I wonder?

    what a marvelous revelation from what I would just be stressed from! <<horrible sentence structure! 😉 I admit, intense driving conditions don't spark that kind of philosophy from me, and I am glad they did for you. To play it forward.

    Also–nicely written. The abstract firmed up to the salient, much like a mist clearing…content mimicking form…

    Have a decidedly delightful week. 🙂

    1. Thanks Karen – and I have every confidence that whichever road you choose, it’s going to be the right one. I hope the clouds break soon!

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