Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fog: It's a Metaphor

Mr. Alpha Male told me recently that he was lost in a fog.  Haven’t we all been there at some point?  Where to go in life?  What to do next?  I usually pride myself on offering excellent advice at such times but for some reason on this occasion, all I could think of was this…

     He strained his eyes, forcing himself to see anything beyond the white mass that had gathered at the prow of the boat over the past hour.  The fog swirled around his head, cool and wet.  It cloaked the dark waters that lapped at the sides of the vessel and filled the ship with a disorienting haze.  His knuckles grew white as he grasped the wheel of the three mast ship, willing it to keep to a safe route.

     “Ain’t gonna be seein’ much in this stew, are ye?” The fist mate offered as he joined him on the deck.

     “No,” the words ground out from between clenched teeth.  Why couldn’t his blasted first mate leave him alone to steer in solitude?  The last thing he needed just now was the old man’s endless prattle about the sea.  This was the one place that his life usually made sense and his thoughts were easily parted as he guided the ship to slice cleanly through the waters.  Not today.  Today, all of the instincts built from years of guiding ships through the Atlantic felt wrong. 

     “I need a blasted heading.” He snapped open his compass gazing at the arrow as it swooped and danced around the small printed N.  It changed nothing, of course.  Without sight, he could steer into a rock outcropping this close to shore.   He may also veer too far off the trail of the Lady Destiny they had been chasing for weeks across the sea. 

     “Nothing to do but wait for this mess to blow out.”  The man stepped up to the railing reaching out his hand into the fog, watching as it stirred around his long twisted fingers. 

     “Every moment we sit still, no progress is being made.  Every moment we sit still, that ship gets further and further from our grasp.” He shoved away from the wheel, his eyes searching the endless white oblivion.  The fortune aboard that ship was close enough to feel its presence, yet it had eluded his grasp again and again. 

     “Let ‘er go for now, Captain.”

     “Let her go.  Let her go?  After all we have been through to get to this place? This…” He slammed his fist down on the wood rail.  “Mist covered hell!  Think of the crew.  We cannot let her go!”

     “Ain’t my choice to let ‘er go.  Tis the sea.  The sea, she is a troublesome mistress.”

Have you ever been lost in a fog?  Do you wait it out or blaze a trail through it and hope for survival?  And why in my own daydreams did I make myself an old ugly first mate with poor English? Fogs pass and clear waters are ahead, just not today.  Hold fast.  Stay strong. Reef the sheets and swab the decks, but don’t loose faith.


Anonymous said...

I tend to wait out the small storms and blaze a trail of survival through the big ones. Storms will always come, but if you've got a good compass and a few good mates, you can survive it. A few margaritas never hurt either. :)
Heather McGovern

Heather McGovern said...


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