A little after six o’clock the other morning, I went out for my daily walk. I stepped out of the house and into thick fog.

This was new.

As I walked through the neighborhood, I found that the fog blunted all edges. The lines of the houses and the leaves of the trees were indistinct, the bird calls muffled. When I was a kid, I used to press my face up against the mist coming out of the humidifier that ran perpetually in my baby sister’s room. The fog in my nose had the same feel and smell of that humidifier air.

I crossed the street and couldn’t see more than ten yards in either direction. With the sharp edges of my senses shaved off, I stepped into the road trusting that approaching cars would have their lights on or that the sound of an engine would reach my ears through the fog in time for me to change my course.

Safely on the other side of the road, I thought how looking into that thick fog is similar to contemplating my future. I’m traveling familiar paths, and I have an idea of where I want to get to, but the here-to-there is obscured. I wondered why I felt so safe in the fog and so confident in my ability to detect danger and act on it in time, while the fog of uncertainty in my life leaves me anxious and clinging to the familiar.

Maybe the difference is speed. Fog is scarier when I’m driving. On foot, I was traveling slowly enough and with enough awareness that I was confident I could spot potential dangers before they were true threats.

Maybe the fog of my future frightens me because I’m traveling too quickly through my life and without enough awareness. If I slowed down and listened and looked and smelled, maybe I could let the uncertainty embrace me like the fog did on my walk. Maybe then I could feel the unknown brush against my skin and tickle my throat and condense on my hair and know that the path I’ve chosen, the one I’m traveling step by step, is the safe path and the right path for me, even if I can’t see beyond a few yards ahead.

10 Replies to “Fog”

  1. I like this analogy. I know where I’ll be until next summer, and at that point it’s like there is a wall of thick fog – where will I live? will I work or…? I need a foglight… 🙂


  2. I love the fog, partly because we have so little of it here (LA). It’s wonderfully obscuring and adds a little mystery to life.
    However in my life? Not so much. Give me some clear skies.
    Though that rarely happens. You’re right – it’s a fog.


    1. You guys don’t get the “marine layer” in LA? I remember that from San Diego, although we didn’t get it where we lived (too far inland). We still got the life fog there, though. You’re never far enough inland to avoid that.


  3. I love fog too. I could see you walking along. I remember when my oldest was young and some mornings the school would completely disappear until we were right there. I used to make a big deal about it. “The school disappeared overnight” and such.


    1. It’s interesting the memories that different weather conditions can evoke. I lived in Monterey, California, for several years growing up, and there my chances to walk through the fog were much more frequent than they are where I live now. I hadn’t realized I missed it until the other day.


  4. Nicely written I like the imagery. Staying mindful and slowing down enough is probably one of the toughest things for me to do in my life…this is a nice reminder that I can use to help with that. Thanks


    1. Thank you, skipcote. I constantly have to remind myself to slow down, too. (And sometimes I actually do it.)


    1. Thank you, Linda. It felt apt while I was walking around, but I can never be sure if a metaphor is going to fly until I launch it. Glad to see it worked for you!


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