The fog comes on little cat feet.Carl Sandburg poem entitled “Fog”
The other day I noticed that we were going to have good conditions for some fog, with warmer air temperatures moving over colder water. I’d intended to go out early and shoot some photos, but life happened and I got distracted. (Life happened in the form of two busted tires and a bunch of money.) But today, having handled the surprises that life dealt me yesterday, I unexpectedly found myself in downtown Toledo, admiring the fog over the Maumee River. It was a cool day with intermittent rain showers, and that meant that there weren’t too many people out walking. Just the way I like it.
I stopped at a local park and walked for a few minutes, taking photos with my phone camera. I could kick myself for not having my real camera with me, as I could have made some other interesting images with different lenses. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the feeling of being swaddled in a blanket of peace. That sense of calm was accentuated by the smooth flight of a great blue heron that slowly dropped out of the fog to rest on a railing near the shore.
I started wondering what it is about fog that I love so much, and I think it might have something to do with my sensory processing sensitivity. The overstimulation of everyday life is generally exhausting for me, being bombarded by noise and visual inputs all day long. Those of us who are highly-sensitive people (20% of humans are HSPs) tend to process all of that input at a deeper level than most people. The majority of people can ignore a lot of the sounds, smells, and sights that become major distractions for us. That difficulty with filtering those things out means that our brains are working overtime all the time, and we have to manage our lives to avoid crashing from too much stimulation. Many of you reading this are HSPs, and you know exactly what I mean. It’s generally a matter of building some “down time” into your life, and guarding it fiercely. I have lots of tricks for shielding myself from the things that are the hardest for me to deal with, and they help a lot. I really should write a book about navigating life as someone with sensory processing sensitivity (which is not the same as sensory processing disorder, by the way). But I digress.
Anyway, here’s what I realized about fog: because it hides things, it serves as a natural way of shielding my eyes and ears from some of the sensory input, and therefore my brain can relax. Look at the first picture above and you’ll understand what I mean: Behind the fog is a city of tall buildings, but all my brain has to process is the river and the bridge. It’s so relaxing.
For those of you who are in the 80% of people who don’t share this trait, I don’t know if I can even explain what an immense gift it is to find something that relieves some of the incessant overthinking that’s normal in my brain. If I could wave a magic wand and make us have fog every day, I might do it. (Except for days when I have to drive on the highways…that’s the only time I don’t like it.)
As we near the end of our second pandemic year, the future is still a bit foggy with regard to how much longer life will be different than normal. Some have suggested that we’re in a new normal now, and maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s time to stop counting down to a normal that may never return; perhaps we should just accept the way things are right now, and make the best of every day. That sounds like pretty good life advice no matter what, right? I’ve discovered that whenever I think about “how much longer…?”, I feel frustrated and unhappy. By releasing the expectations I had for the future, I can find peace and joy right now. And so can you.
By the way, how do you like the new format of the blog? You may not notice it if you’ve arrived here with a link directly to this post, but if you go to the main page (www.natureismytherapy.com), you’ll see the new graphic layout. I think I like it so far, although the changeover has caused a few glitches that I’ll have to clean up.
And one last thing — because I’m so grateful for those of you who continue to read these articles I write for you, I’d like to invite you all to share links to your own blogs in the comments if you’re so inclined. Take a moment to let others here know what you’re writing about. I know there are some wonderful nature writers among you, but even if you write about other topics, let us know. And if you’re not a writer, tell me what you’d like me to write about in the new year — any specific nature-related topics you’d like to know more about?
I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season, and I’ll look forward to sharing more nature with you in the new year!