Sun and Fog

Another in a string of sunny days, causing me to wonder if this May is setting up a new pattern for the weather. I almost miss the fog. With fog, a day feels more intimate. With sun, a day feels open and exposed for all to see. Fog has personality while sun is a crowd. Fog can linger or it can drift, and fingers of it can stick to trees and make many incongruous shapes and forms that no person would think to duplicate. Sun is more like the simple operation of switching on an overhead light. I see fog sometimes and view it as a cleverly written mystery novel in which I cannot guess who committed the crime or how the suspense will become resolved, whereas a bright sunny day is more like watching the six o’clock news on television.

Early mornings and late afternoons though, when the sun casts long shadows across the top surface of the landscape, I like to watch how trees tend to eclipse one another in thin, purplish bands of shade. When the sun can do this, I don’t mind getting out my camera and looking for contrasting areas to shoot. Fog just does not provide me with much incentive to hunt for color and light. If I were an artist I would want that interplay of light to show up in my interpretations. If I only painted in dull whites and bluesy grays I would probably give up my palette and turn to writing mystery stories.

The coastal climate gives out so many options, such a variety of color, that guessing what might be in store for the next day can be quite a challenge. I will often go to sleep in fog, wake up with a day of sun, and wonder half the day where the fog went, only to see it slowly roll back into the forest in which it had just slipped away before I awoke.

The sun has an uncanny ability to select and display many different hues of light within a small amount of time, which can make me feel quite fulfilled on those days when there is so much fog that I hardly see any pure light. I have seen purple turn into gold with a more effective alchemy than medieval wizards might produce with thick, mysterious books full of incantations. When the sun brings forth this mystical transformation, I want so much to feel a part of the process. I want to let the sun make changes in my mind and heart that will match what it is doing, because on my own I have such difficulty changing how I feel inside.

My better thoughts don’t seem to come from my mind. My mind is good at allowing the fog to drift in, while my heart looks for the sun to clear up the gray sky inside of me and give me a peacefulness, a brightness, that allows me to see the events of the day with more clarity. I should be more grateful for the sun. But alas, too many sunny days and I begin to miss the fog. What I really need is a little of both circumstances, an interplay between the two forces. Sometimes the brightness and clarity of sun can overwhelm me with an intensity that tires me. On those days I long for privacy and seclusion, for days when I might undo the alchemical processes, just rest and ponder the mystery of living.

But when I go out and see both sun and fog working together in a rugged harmony along the ocean, with some fog hovering over steep cliffs and tree tops sparkling with dabs of bright light, I find both mind and heart working together to produce the sensation inside of me that I can best describe as being thrilled by the sight and wonder of living. Those are the more special days. When one day is all sun I know that there will soon be one of all fog, so I wait in apprehension to view the unfolding change.

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