(A metaphor for how I felt upon moving back to Melbourne with two children under five, and how I found my way again.)
The fog descends almost imperceptibly, and where in the days before the way was clear, it is suddenly opaque. I grow wary: of myself; of this unfamiliar landscape; of what may lurk unseen in the fog. I fear a cliff-edge. It would be so easy to misstep and fall down headlong and un-saveable.
In the thick white fog, I long to see a lantern held high by a strong arm, a light to guide me. I know fog always lifts. It will, one day, be blown off by a fresh southerly wind, and once again the world will become crisp and clear-edged. But not before it is time. This fog too has a purpose, I remind myself. Fog forms dew, which forms water droplets, which slide down plants to nourish and strengthen that which is below. More specifically, this fog has a purpose for me.
So I settle down, back against a strong tree, and let the fog be. There is wisdom here, in stillness, in conversation with self. In this opaque-ness hides my ready smile, my easy laugh. Sitting here, it is impossible to tell whether I rest at a crossroads, or upon a long, straight path. So I pause and wait for the fog to lift when it is ready to lift.
In this stillness, I close my eyes but am frightened by the darkness, and quickly open them again. When I do so, I see that the fog is light, one hundred percent light. It is within this light, I must slow; dance within the current moment; know that the path, while not visible, is even thus beneath my feet, the gravel and dirt still there even if out of sight. It is not easy to maintain this focus in the chaos and noise of everyday life. But it is essential. I ask my body to breathe deeply, and then exhale long and slow, and, three years later, blow away the fog.
The day becomes clear and lovely, full of bird song, blue sky and babies. It is noise and chaos and funny faces and splashy baths, and it is all okay. The path is clear. It was there all along. That southerly I awaited has come and blown off the remainder of the fog, and someone, as I run past them on this wooded trail, says, winter is coming.
But I don’t buy it. It is spring to me, jonquil and freesia season. A time of light and growth and fertility. All is clarity and green and alive.