Posted in Dreams, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Life, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter

Winter’s fog

Walking in the clouds.
Walking in the clouds.

When one walks in the woods or climbs mountains, there is a wonderful unity of body, mind, and spirit.  Hiking strengthens the legs, increases stamina, invigorates the blood, and soothes the mind.  Away from the madness of society, one is freed to observe nature’s lessons.

Erosion.  Gnarled roots.  The carcass of a dead deer.  A flight of swallows.  The high spirals of hawks.  Bladed reflections of rushing water.  Just budding bare branches.  Gray rock, cracked, shattered, and worn.  A fallen tree.  A lone cloud.  The laughter of plum branches.  Even a little circle of rocks beside the trail — who put them there, or did any hand arrange them, and no matter which, what are the secrets of that circle?

There are a thousand meanings in every view, if only we open ourselves to see the scripture of the landscape.

~ Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao Daily Meditations

In the woods on this foggy morning.
In the woods on this foggy morning.

I feel limited by words and images today.  I want to tell you about my walk in the fog early this morning, about how the fog was dark and creepy, light and airy, mysterious and magical, all at the same time.  It was a frosty fog in which you could almost see ice crystals.

Wandering through the cemetery.
Wandering through the cemetery.

But I also want to share the experience of the chill of the fog and the way the breath freezes as you inhale and exhale, or the way the tips of the fingers burn with the cold dampness until you put them in your pockets to warm them up, and feel life and warmth slowly return.

It was like walking in the smoke of liquid nitrogen.  I expected to freeze solid at any moment, forever standing in winter’s mist.  I wish I had better words to describe it.

The mystery of the wall.  Who started to build it?  Why did they build it?  To keep the dead in?  Or the living out?
The mystery of the wall. Who built it? Why did they build it? To keep the dead in? Or the living out?

I can show you images, but the photos can’t convey the slick iciness of the surface of the boardwalks or how I had to walk carefully, almost sideways, to get out to the dock without falling.  I didn’t step out on to the dock at all for fear that I’d end up slip-sliding into the creek.  Instead, I peered around the corner from the boardwalk.

A glimpse from the boardwalk.
A glimpse from the boardwalk.

I can use words, but I want you to hear the sound of guns firing in the distance, the deep pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop, like a string of firecrackers exploding one after another, some of them overlapping so you know there is more than one hunter, followed by the honking alarms of geese as they take flight and flee the scene.  How far distant this is happening is hard to say because of the peculiar way sound is carried in the fog.  It could be miles away.  It could be just around the bend in the creek.

Lifting and falling.
Lifting and falling.

A picture will show you the blood I found on the driveway, but words might be better here because an image would be too gruesome.  Nearby there was scat with fur in it.  There are carnivores hunting the meadows.  A fox or coyote.  I haven’t seen or heard coyotes around here, but did read a news story about how they are becoming more common on the Eastern Shore.  I haven’t seen or heard a fox here, either, but with all those bunny rabbits running around the meadows, one was bound to take up residence on the property eventually.  Hawks and owls are wintering here, too.  It’s no wonder we don’t see too much of the rabbits these days.

Woodland trail.
Woodland trail.

A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving toward any goal. . . . The pause can occur in the midst of any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or seasons of our life. . . . We may pause in the midst of meditation to let go of thoughts and reawaken our attention to the breath.  We may pause by stepping out of daily life to go on a retreat or to spend time in nature or to take a sabbatical. . . . You might try it now: Stop reading and sit there, doing “no thing,” and simply notice what you are experiencing.

~ Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Pausing on the trail.
Pausing on the trail.

Lately I’ve been pausing a lot, and even giving a great deal of thought to pausing.  This is where I could announce that I might take a break from posting on my blog, but experience has taught me that as soon as I announce such a thing, my blogging mind will suddenly come up with all sorts of blog posts that I absolutely must sit down and write and share.  Right Now.

Although the pull to pause and turn inwards is strong, habits have a siren song of their own that make it difficult to put them aside.

A sandy path.
A sandy path.

Instead of announcing, I will wait and see.  Or pause and see.  I figure if I pause for a moment, just a moment, the gap between breaths, between doing and not doing, will allow the inner music to grow louder than the songs of habit, and each moment paused may, or may not, lead to another moment of pausing and listening.  Call it a slow down instead of a break.

Let's stop here for a minute.
Let’s stop here for a minute.

Thank you for visiting, and rambling in the fog with me.  As of this writing, the sun has been trying to burn of the persistent fog.  I don’t know if we’ll see much of a sunset tonight, but the satellite images are showing a break in the clouds that might make it here in time.  If you’re willing to brave the chilly dampness of the day, I’ll meet you out on the dock.  Sunset is at 5:14 PM.  Be early and wear an extra pair of gloves.  Your fingers will thank you.

Moving outwards.
Moving outwards.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

18 thoughts on “Winter’s fog

  1. Frosty fog! Not only visually chilling, but that sharp feeling. Sounds play different in fog and I image the icy temps do add another dimension to that. Animals do seem to go into some sort of suspended animation during fog.
    (We’ve had 2 days of heavy fog – but much more drenching and warmer in feel. Now downpours of chilling rain)
    Those walls around the graces – very common on the old family plots on farms here as well as in formal cemeteries. Is it to show hallowed ground and don’t walk plow or walk here? Will have to check. Nice to sit on when you’re a kid there putting flowers on graves and pulling weeds.
    Always enjoy your rambles – paths and words

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  2. Hi Robin. Thank you for your walk and for sharing it with such clarity. We have seen rabbit tracks around the house for the first time this year. I love your posts, especially your chronicles of changes at your new home. Jane

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  3. Between your words and the photos such a feeling for your walk grew up in me I could almost be there with you, despite this perfect, warm and sunny summer day that has wrapped me up in a fug of joy! I am grateful for the constant reminders of our sameness and affinities despite the miles and hemisphere differences.

    Sometimes I wonder if the rhythm and routines of day are our way of tethering ourselves to the earth, when solitude and meditative life would maybe whisk us from this place. I sometimes think yes, and other times think no. Nothing needs to be fixed, nothing is forever. Post when you wish to, leave it alone when you don’t. We come together for a season, for a reason, for a moment in time. Again and again and again. xo

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  4. Robin, you describe it all so perfectly, and I’m right there with you. Our fog burned off a little earlier, but we had it at the beginning of the day. It is such an odd experience to feel the solid little ice crystals appear out of thick air, isn’t it? But it speaks to the magic which surrounds us. Thank you for the quotation about pausing. I needed that. I have just dis-engaged from a whole series of commitments, and love the opportunity to pause and re-collect those things which are important. January and February always present an opportunity for us to do this, and re invigorate ourselves in the doing. I hope your health news is encouraging. I have not been reading much this week, and will catch up with your posts now. Giant warm hugs, WG

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  5. My favorite is “Lifting and Falling” of this group. Fog in winter!? Sounds like it was a unique experience. I know what you mean when something is so special and so hard to describe. You had to be there…right? Wish I had been! But your descriptions and photos are beautiful, so I feel like I was. Does fog mean it’s almost spring there?

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  6. It was fun walking in the fog with you. I totally get how it could be magical and mysterious, light and airy, dark and creepy all at the same time. A couple if weeks ago when we had our “epic fog” it was scary driving around in it and yet it was also inviting. I wanted to get out of the car and walk around in it to see what magic might be waiting.

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  7. I’ve been forced into pause mode for a number of reasons lately. I’ve struggled with keeping up. Haven’t quite figured out what the compulsion to post is all about. I feel the pull, but life seems to be getting in the way. Something to ponder.

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  8. Your words and pictures together put me in a place of slowness, I felt myself being in no hurry. Cautious because of the ice? Or slow because the fog just says ‘don’t rush’. Paused, slowed or breathing deeply ….. I’ll be waiting for whatever your blog puts out. When it’s ready. I’m always keeping an eye out for it. 🙂

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  9. The Phases in the Life of a Blogger ~ don’t they change at any given moment? I’m in a phase of wanting to write in my blog, but will only do so on the days when I feel I should…other days, I won’t. Perhaps that would work for you too, Robin. Take time off when you feel you should, and write when the urge hits. Whatever you do, it will be alright. I don’t think an announcement is necessary either, just go with the flow.

    I love today’s photos, all of them. I feel as if you were really in the zone with the camera, the sights, the sounds, the fog, nature…this post was a pleasure to read. ❤

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  10. I share your fascination with fog. This was a beautiful description and display, but I understand what you mean about it being so difficult to really convey what you feel when you are in it. As far as blogging breaks go, the “when I feel like it” way works very well. Post when something moves you to do it. 🙂

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  11. This post was amazingly descriptive, Robin– I was treading carefully on the dock with you so I didn’t slip, either! Hope your new year is off to a great start. 🙂

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  12. Robin, this was such a Presence-filled blog post. I think maybe when we think the words and pictures aren’t quite conveying it–perhaps the silence of awareness between and around the words will paint the picture each person needs or wants to hear. (And everyone will get a different painting as it filters through them.)

    It will be interesting to see whether Presence shares more posts through you or decides to be quiet for a while. (I’m waiting to discover that myself on my blog!) Peace be with you…

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  13. Fog is humbling in its quiet sturdiness and soft edges. I lived in the SF bay area for years and enveloped the fog like a child warms under an embrace. Fog is like life – full of mystery and hidden answers.
    Your post is lovely.

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  14. Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments. It’s early morning as I read through them, and I’m getting mentally ready for something I wasn’t expecting to do today. Long story, short, I’m having out-patient surgery in a few hours. I’ll be back soon with news and a book review that was supposed to be posted today. Wish me luck. 🙂

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  15. Recently I’d had to walk our dog in the morning darkness to get to work on time. Retiring has meant a bounty of good things, but one of the best is being able to walk at dawn now, including recent days when the meadows have been full of mist. Am glad to see you are enjoying nature, too, Robin.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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