Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fog and Frost

Anchorage has been blanketed in fog now for days. As I drove the kids to school, the fog was so dense around us that I couldn’t tell where we were on the highway. The familiar landmarks along the road were obscured and I had no idea how much ground we had covered until the next exit sign or building would emerge out of the murk and once again I would be able to get my bearings. In the meantime, I kept my eyes on the tail lights in front of me, thankful for the intrepid commuters who were forging the way ahead of us. Because the winter days are short and the nights are very dark in Alaska, the fog seems all the more deep and impenetrable.

My inner life mirrors our recent weather and foggy conditions. I am not traveling in utter blackness, but it is certainly obscure and darkened. I am not lost or frightened, I know that there is a path ahead of me, and I am pretty sure that I know where I am headed.

One of my places of greatest discomfort has always been confusion. I would much prefer pain, even deep grief, if I could make just a little bit of sense of it. But to live in uncertainty is a deeply challenging place. It requires me to relinquish control, to accept that I don’t know and to wait until some sort of understanding might dawn. Or not.

For the first time in my life, I actually feel a great relief at waiting in the dark, a new comfort with what is unknown. I have always felt obligated to get things figured out and to understand exactly what is happening and why, to know what the next step is or the next spiritual project. But, for now, I am content to be pulled along by the night, trusting that the light will come again.

There is more to my story about the fog that we experience here in Alaska, for it also offers us an amazing and wondrous experience. As the sun rises and the fog eventually lifts, the mist leaves behind a layer of perfect white crystals, hoarfrost, upon everything. Every limb, branch and piece of dried grass are covered, utterly transforming the landscape. Everything glitters. Everything is new. Perfect white against a blue, blue sky. Is it possible that my own inner landscape could also be so beautifully altered?

13 comments:

Jennifer said...

This is a beautiful analogy of darkness outside & inside. Thankful for myself that it is more of the journey than the answer that I am drawn to. I suppose in some ways I have learned for myself at least there are no definitive answers. Confusion is difficult. I have had recent RESISTANCE to confusion. Resistance being one of my toughest and most growling of struggles.

The gleaming of the perfect crystal , the frost...is a beautiful example of the results of nature.
What I find thought provoking is that the the frost was already...within the mist, the same but different in appearance. Already existing, taking only now a different form.

Jennifer said...

Oh, Thank you for a beautiful post to add to my morning devotion time.

Sulwyn said...

Beautiful picture and wonderful thoughts. Thank you.

The Pollinatrix said...

First, I have to say, because I always forget to, that you are one amazing photographer! And I love the new header.

This post reminds me of a quote that Anne Lamott provides in Bird by Bird. It's from E.L. Doctorow, and it's about novel-writing, but, as Lamott points out, can be just as easily applied to life:

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

lucy said...

"But, for now, I am content to be pulled along by the night, trusting that the light will come again." this along with the quote from Anne Lamott (via Pollinatrix) are bringing light into my fog...

we have had glorious, cold & sunny days here in seattle for the last several days. i have been very grateful for the additional light during these darkest days of the year.

i love the "letting go" i read in your words as you spoke of moving away from a place of control and into one of contentment. there really is so very little we can control, except perhaps our own perspective (& that is easier said than done).

xoxoxo

Nichol said...

I am envious that you can use a word like relief when talking about waiting.
It's so strange to see the picture today and read about the weather in AK. It still feels like it's my life. I guess it will be a long time before that feeling fades...or possibly it never will.

Rebecca Johnson said...

Jennifer, This is what I love so much about posting! I say something that I am thinking about or have become aware of, am the people who comment take it a little bit deeper. I think that your observation that the beauty was always present there under the fog is absolutely true and that my inner landscape, in some way, my already be as beautiful as I would like it to be.

I'm glad that you have always been about the "journey". It probably makes all of this a lot easier. I, on the other hand, have always been about arriving and learning to enjoy the process.

Love...

Rebecca Johnson said...

Sulwyn, Thanks for stopping by and for your encouragement. Love...

Rebecca Johnson said...

Polli, I am not a big one for deflecting compliments, but I really can't take too much credit for my photography. I simply have a decent little SLR camera. It takes the pictures. : ) Doctorow's quote is perfect apt for the spiritual journey and I remember reading that in Bird by Bird. Sometimes I feel just a touch discouraged that someone can say in one sentence what it took me several paragraphs to say. : ) Maybe I deepened it a little bit.

And the photo in my header is not adjusted or photo shopped. That is really what our sunset looked like last week. Breathtaking!

Love....

Rebecca Johnson said...

Lucy, Yes, yes and yes. Thank you.

Love....

Rebecca Johnson said...

Nichol, This is your first winter away and though I know it wasn't your favorite, it really is beautiful.

I am as surprised by the feeling of relief as you are envious. You have another ten years to see if maybe it will come to you. : )

Love....

Jennifer said...

Rebecca - I wish I could say that I've always been drawn to the "journey", but only within the last few years has this become my prominent desire. I find it to be a great challenge in certain seasons to remain true to this fundamental piece of myself.

One of the basic things I have recognized is that whatever I thought I would arrive to is an illusion I had of myself and life and that everything I need I already have...it was simply becoming aware of this, and I have to take a lot of time to REMAIN aware of this. I want to clarify also that it doesn't mean I don't believe I can't evolve or grow...I suppose I mean that I am enjoying the process of it all without expectation of a certain END result.

Yes...the beauty is radiant and gleaming!!!

I feel the same about blogging, posting and comments...what my experience has been becomes so much RICHER when others interject their personal experiences. I have been enriched deeply because of this exchange of life & thoughts.

The Pollinatrix said...

Regardless of how good your camera is, it's still your vision that gets the picture taken. So I'm not retracting my compliment. And that's final.

I think the Doctorow quote enhances what you're saying here, but you've said it much more fully and poetically. Reading your posts is partly about the meaning, partly about the poetry of your language, and partly about looking in a window to your experience