Saturday, November 12, 2011

Seeing Through the Mist

Some mornings are so perfect I find myself in a trance. When a mist lays in the lowland where the river runs to and from the pond, it seems as if I have entered a different world.

On this particular recent morning the mist, a fog really, had mingled with the lifting darkness and it was difficult to see what I'd grown accustomed to on these daily wanderings...the river just beyond the path that is beyond the sidewalk that edges the main street into our town; the woods beyond the river that hush my rushing mind even as they protect the river from all but the most persistent. There would be a footbridge leading to the meandering chip trail. Sometimes the heron would be there stalking bluegills in the shallows. East of the footbridge the river would bend and the water would ripple over the pebble bar on the riverbank. But none of this was there that morning.

When the mist falls, when the cumulus fog rolls down from above, I am, for a moment, disconcerted.I want to see what I am accustomed to seeing. I want the world to be as it should be. I want all the answers, all the symmetry and all the order to be just as it always has been. But the mist prevents all this. It forces from me, "What if?"

What if the river has dried up?
What if the bluegills that swim there have shrunk to skeletons on its banks?
What if the heron has gone to a different pond
                   --he has to eat, after all?
What if nothing is as I want it to be?
What if the world I I desire no longer exists? What then?
My heart begins to flutter and my mind swirls.

I jump to conclusions and, in a panic, begin to consider all kinds of possibilities. I will move away. I will find a new pond like the heron has surely done. I will leave my home, uproot my canine family and set out like Thoreau did so many decades ago. Now I am angry that Nature has sparked my wide-awake nightmare.
Just as my panic unsettles me to the point where I must find a place to sit down I decide that surely the same mist could just as easily settle over a different pond.

And so I wait until the sun begins to rise in the east and shines its rays through the trees and the mist is no longer an evil, dark forteller of gloom but a magical place wrapped in a gilded softness that, if I were to believe in a heaven, would be heavenly.

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