What to do when the fog rolls in

Posted in Blogs, Literary

November 5, 2014

People like to complain about fog and mist. When I lived in Geneva many years ago, everyone I knew complained about the grey skies, the mist and the damp winds.

Everyone, that is, except for some people.

A guy I knew who was a gifted guitarist from Paraguay loved that Geneva weather. “It makes me stay indoors and dream up songs,” he said to me once.

Spending the first few months of the fall on Whidbey for the first time ever, that’s how I feel too.

I know what you’re going to say. “But the weather has been amazing this fall!”

My neighbors Pat and Sue tell me every time I see them. “It’s glorious! Not typical of our weather!”

Yup. It is. Glorious. But for me, I do an inner dance of joy when the fog rolls in.

Our fog and trees  (photo by Stephanie Barbé Hammer)

Our fog and trees (photo by Stephanie Barbé Hammer)

See—when I get up, and all I see is trees and nothing else, I feel that cocoon of stories and poems weaving itself around me. The outside world has been temporarily veiled so that I can plunge in to my secret world. The magic world that I get to explore now that I make stories as my life-work.

Yes, I know fog is bad for driving. And boating. And probably marathon running. But the positive in this is that fog means I have to stay put. Or I can stay put and use the fog as an excuse. “I’m so sorry—I can’t come and do that thing with you today, because the fog ….!” Etc.

That means I can sit on the patio, and drink my coffee, and look into the mist and imagine what’s there behind it. Then I go to my desk and pour all that into words.

There’s a freedom in fog, is all I’m saying.

(photo by Stephanie Barbé Hammer)

Photo by Stephanie Barbé Hammer

So, friends, the next time the fog rolls in, take a look at that cooking project, that weaving, knitting, or sewing project, that drawing project or—as NaNoWriMo kicks in—that novel or memoir or poetry project.

But before you do, just sit for a moment and take a look at that fog. Allow the mist to shelter you from doubts, bills, worries, relatives, and yes—partners.

And then create something.

Stephanie Barbé Hammer lives mostly in Coupeville with occasional treks into the wilds of Los Angeles. Her poetry collection “How Formal?” launched in May 2014 and her brand-spanking new novel “The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior” (about German Americans, secret Anabaptists, bunraku puppets, ghosts, and hope) comes out later this year. You can follow her on twitter at stephaniebarbeh and read her blog here: www.stephaniebarbehammer.net


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