Thursday, February 4, 2016

A foggy day schedule

I've been stuck in a bit of a writing slump these days so, on a whim, I searched the internet for writing prompts and found this list of 365 Creative Writing Prompts. One that stood out for me was prompt #22: Smoke, Fog, and Haze: write about not being able to see ahead of you.

Oh, fog...

I grew up in California's San Joaquin Valley - an area located inland from the west coast of the USA, rich with agriculture, canals and irrigation ditches. During the winter months, fog would roll in at night, blanketing everything in the early morning hours.

I remember looking out at the fog from our front window as kids, not being able to see past the front yard and fingers crossed for a "foggy day" schedule. On foggy school mornings, we'd tune in to a local AM radio station to listen for delayed bus schedules. If the fog was thick enough in our area, school buses were delayed by an hour or two to allow the fog to lift enough that driving conditions were safer. Even then, our bus driver was strict about having us wait on the church steps until she had come to a complete stop before we approached the bus. Visibility was that low.

As an adult I hated the fog. Actually, I only really hated driving in it. It's scary to be behind the wheel of a car and not be able to see past the front end of your vehicle! Driving was slow at best. My mom drove 45 minutes each way to work in foggy conditions every winter. I hated that for her - worried about her driving in the fog every winter! But hey, driving in the fog is not what ultimately claimed her, and cancer was something that had never crossed my mind for my mother. I totally worried about the wrong thing for her!

And so it is with me, that the subject of fog presents itself in a writing prompt - the perfect metaphor at this point in my life. These days I feel as if my life is on a foggy day schedule; delayed just a little until I can see my path more clearly. The things I worry about on the path before me are most likely not even there. And like my mom, the fog will not be my ultimate demise. It's just there to provide a little buffer - a gentle reminder to be patient and not rush things.

There's nothing wrong with a little self-imposed foggy day schedule once in a while.
Besides, I've always been an excellent driver.


Sian said...

You're right: the things in your path may not be there at all. Besides, if you turn on your fog lights (and I think that's what you do for lots of people all the time) you'll be just fine :)

Patty Branco said...

I grew up resenting the fog. See, I lived 12 miles out in the country from town. Fog meant I couldn't stay for the school dance. Fog meant my Saturday plans were cancelled if we woke up to fog. Mom had a gauge, if she could see the barn from the kitchen window, it wasn't TOO bad, if she could see the outline of Goncalves house, we were golden! But I remember a weekend where we couldn't see the road in front of the house, roughly 20 yards from our front door. The birds got disoriented and flew into the windows of the house. They would sit on the telephone wires and emit a horrible distress call. It was Hitchcock's The Birds. Power was out. Scary night. So, do I have an irrational fear of fog, you betcha. It comes from being a country kid in the San Joaquin Valley.

Karen said...

I've learned quite a lot recently while reading about mindfulness, and one of my big take-away is how much time I've spent worrying about things that never happen. I like the analogy of fog hiding the things in our path that may not be there at all.

Lady Ella said...

Nice memories. I've read this a few times ... lots to think about. When you put it like that, my life has been fogged up to various degrees for years. The analogy is helpful.

Patio Postcards said...

what a lovely way to put all this & I echo Sian's comment about you providing the fog lamps for many & like Lady Ella, oh my life is constantly shadowed in fog!

But on the note of real fog - I hate driving in it - it feels so dangerous & I would rather stay home than risk. Umm maybe there is another analogy about things in my life. UMMM I say again & again. Wishes for a great weekend.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Beautiful writing Deb. You know what some of my favorite of your blog posts involve your childhood memories. Fog is such an interesting topic. I remember some soccer games Henry played on foggy days when he couldn't even see across the field. But coast fog is different than valley fog for sure.
I remember creeping over the grapevine driving to southern california and being terrified.
Now I love cool, foggy mornings here, curled up in my house.

alexa said...

Such a beautifully written and thoughtful piece ... I love your analogy. I like also the thought that sometimes we need to wait for things to come to a complete stop, when there's fog, before it's safe to get on board and move off again. That speaks to me today. Xx

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