This morning I awoke to a message from my traveling sister. She wants to do a piece on fog, because there is no fog in her part of Australia. She asked me to use fog as inspiration for a writing exercise. This morning I am fluidly and quickly writing down my thoughts.
In case the metaphor is lost, I am comparing fog here to postpartum depression.
In these ripening days of autumn I love waking in the cool quiet of the morning, stale white light covering me like a blanket. I look out through a sea glass window churning with mist, a spider web dangled with bright dots strung across it, and smile with the knowledge that when the fog begins to lift, red leaves and the smell of sweet apple will remain. Fog has a beauty all its own. It can barely be quantified, but in the last few years I have found it to be a rising comfort, a navigator without a lighthouse.
In the months after my first baby there was a strong sense of disconnect with the world around me. My brain could not issue a response when confronted with a question. I felt I was in a relentless cloud, thin and low enough I could see over it, but too muggy to plunge through. The fear of failing to remember an appointment, to look intelligent, to seem coherent, stifled my relationships. The loss of words was coupled with the loss of joy.
But in the fog there are those sparkling moments, thin places, that allow the light to break through. Sparkling dew, the silhouette of fir trees, a low flying gull, nothing but the sound of crashing waves and the feel of grit under your boots. I learned to accept the ways my memory was flawed, because it helped me to navigate my own psyche. The ways I could perceive and see my map of thoughts in this haze of incoherency was in fact a marvel. Likened to being a child with a slight propensity towards ADD, I only had room for jagged thoughts laced with either melancholy or fantasy and delight. When I began to come out of my depression and accepted the mists that swirled around me, I began writing a story. I wrote when inspiration struck: when I could see those sparkling thin places.
After my third baby I got serious, plunged into the unknown, my rain coat cinched, and joined a writers group. I was honest. I told them of my plight: a mouth full of words with little eloquence, but a heart brimming with imagery. They pulled me through and showed me how to feel to find my way, how to look up to the light to see the rays fall down on me in bright yellow lines through the gray, how to find the shining mirror of lake as the mists curl back. I am no longer disheartened by the rocks I can make out ahead, but thrilled at how I’ve made it through. As my hormones allow my thoughts to dislodge from the corners of my brain, I am able to make sense of my story.
The fog was a catalyst for the book I am writing now, an accomplishment that, like my children, it is one of the great mysteries of my life that makes me both proud and full of awe at what He has done. Through the mist I was brave enough to find the light. And in that glittery filter I found me.