My bicycle ride to the beach in the cold fog the other morning made me think about what this coming summer on the Monterey Bay will be like. Even now I see out the window this seasonal gray that mops out all sunlight. From my sea-level perspective, the color of the sky is much washed out, but if I were to go up into the mountains for several miles I would be able to look down and see that the fog is a vast blanket that carefully spreads over the mountain ridges and valleys in a protective shield from the intensity of summer sun. The redwood trees have learned to drink from this fog and prosper. I should learn from the trees, letting the fog nourish me, and stop wishing the fog would go away. I tend to hope for changes in the weather. When it’s hot I want cool; when cool, hot.
Consistent fog makes me feel like each day is the same, that there is no variation between one and the next. When I awake to a morning of fog, my feelings seem to have already been put into place for me by the fog. I’m a slave. My better sense tells me that my feelings should come to me from within. My attitude or natural disposition should have the upper hand on how I feel. Alas, the fog almost always has the final rule over me. I bow to its authority in subservience as it hushes my thoughts and my will. It has the privilege of doing whatever it wants to do to my emotions and I can only barely resist.
As the summer continues, many locals will become fog-sick. Some, like me, will hop in their cars on weekends and head east to the Sierras just to get a good summer cooking. When I do that, I only need a day to know that the fog is special. Only a narrow stretch of land accepts the summer fog. I can wait it out. Some days it will peel back to expose the ripened sun. Enough of those days, even if only for two or three hours in the afternoons, will give my feelings room to expand and heal.
A few weeks remain before I am free from another form of slavery–the drudgery of having to work for a living. I’ll be able to lift my pudgy body out of the gray atmosphere that is the office life, as I begin a life-long collection of government benefits, coupled with a dipping into savings. I’m sure there are a few things about work that I will miss initially, in the same way that an inmate might miss prison when his term has been served, such as being apprehensive about what lies ahead, and the radical change in daily activities. I have proven to myself, however, that I am guilty of being the warden of my own prison, while serving my term in the compound called industry. I’ve mostly seen the work I have done as a necessary evil, to keep me safely off the streets in a wild and unruly society. My seeing work that way set the stage for me to view it as drudgery. When I break free from the compound, I know I still have an inner barrier that I must contend with. I don’t want to continue to feel like I’m still fogged in, but that exercise in freedom can only come from my own intentions.