The fog of fear
March has come in like a lamb here in Holland. As is often the way on the cusp between seasons, a thick as snert soup fog was draped over the tilting houses and the cobbled streets as we cycled to work this morning. So we took our time winding through the sleepy city, being careful to not careen into a canal or other commuters making their way to through the murky dawn. As we rolled past the shrouded polders and pastures, I recalled that just yesterday I’d walked the same path and the sky was Delft blue, the landscape dotted with crystal clear livestock and resting swans.
I took a hand off my handlebars and tried to grab the fog. It is real, it is here, but I cannot grab it, I cannot hold it. And my musings about unlearning fear returned… I wondered, maybe fear is like the fog? Real and at the same time mere vapor. Yes, fog can pose real danger – to visibility, to compromised lungs, to a perfectly coiffed head of hair – but fog can also be beautiful and, as far as we know, it is always temporary.
When fear settles on our shoulders and clings to the fabric of our being, we can forget the clear day before or be unable to imagine a potentially clear day tomorrow. I’m not suggesting that we dismiss the fog, no quite the contrary. We have to acknowledge and move through the fog, with careful intelligence, clothed appropriately (they say here that there is no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes), going slowly to observe our surroundings, adjust our trajectory and hold onto the the knowledge that the sun is still shining even if we can’t see it.
What is deeply troubling me is that it seems like the powers that be profit from perpetually having their hands on fog machines to cloud our vision of a beautiful world. Maybe it is because we are on the cusp between seasons – between the old paradigm of greedily, violently hoarding power and a newer, more compassionate reality where all of creation can flourish in freedom.
My question is, how do we move through the fog – how do we discern what is truly dangerous to our personal and collective lives and what is merely vapor? How do we hold onto the memory and hope of a sun burning brightly?
What do you think?