This morning, I'm driving through the fog.
"Turn your lights on as soon as you get out of the house," my husband advised me. "And drive slowly." I did. I had no choice. The world was thick and billowing and white tinged with a grey undertone etching the whorls parting as the car moved forward. I could only see a few feet in front of the vehicle, the entire neighborhood had been swallowed by it, all the details gone. I knew what should be there, but suddenly I found that I'd forgotten and it made me cautious and unsure. I drove slowly with the lights on, hoping that other cars would show a similar kindness. I was wary of any bicyclists or joggers that might be on the road.
"It might not be a pea-souper," I thought, "but it was at least a hearty tomato bisque."
I miss my friends in England.
Mentally berating myself for getting distracted, I gave my head a little shake as I made that awful turn onto the main road, checking twice for lights and holding my breath as I hit the gas. All clear. The houses fell away again and I was alone. I debated turning around, try another route, but I doubted it would be much different so I kept going the way I've always gone. It was eerie how the world opened up, scene by scene, only to disappear into whiteness behind me. The fog lit briefly as I drove by an open field, knowing that the sun must be shining off somewhere to the east although I couldn't see it. A crow appearing out of nothing, flapping its wings and diving back into the mist was something worth seeing.
I'd store that image for later.
A traffic light blinked into existence and then so did cars and buses and buildings so that, for a brief instant, we were all together in this, and then it slid away again as the green arrow ducked behind cloudy curtains and I followed a haunted trail of tail lights hardly-seen through the mist. It was as if the route had been brushed with thickening layers of glaze.
I was driving in a fog through a fog and then I wasn't. I had to blink to make sure I hadn't missed something, done something wrong somewhere, but it was the sun coming out and shining down hard on the fields past the intersection and everything was edged-bright and crystal-clear. All the colors sharpened, leaping out at my fog-addled eyes: the yellow-orange of the buses with their black bumble stripes, the green of the trees, the red of the stop sign, the heavy grey of the road. The only white was on the sides of houses and the occasional car. Now I could drive! The tension I hadn't realized in my shoulders was gone, rested and relaxed. I knew this route--it was simple!--I'd done it a million times before. My brain could switch to automatic and think of other things besides what lurks in white shadows or what happened before, everything was forward: onto the next thing and the next and the next, do the To Dos, get the job done. Once the fog had passed, I could enjoy the ride instead of concentrating on the mechanics and the pitfalls and the associated stress. I wasn't distracted by errant thoughts or other roads. The drive was easy and it was beautiful.
This wasn't an analogy for writing, but it could be.
Happy Friday! Forge onward!