Weather Report: March 27, 2020
(I have regularly used a weather report for journaling. I owe the practice to Kathleen Norris from her book Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (which I highly recommend). The outside world is reflected inside…our inside world is projected outside.)
The morning fog foretells spring. The warmer air filtering in meets the still cold waters surrounding us in Door County. The fog obscures but does not conceal. Trees are still trees. Buildings are still buildings. It is a thin, dreamy fog that smears the edges of things without removing them altogether.
Most people prefer clarity. We like the mega-pixel images with high contrast so we can see with absolute accuracy. It isn’t it amazing that we have cameras that can take pictures with greater precision than our eyes can see? Amazing, might not capture the thought. Ridiculous. Wasteful.
Foggy, cloudy days offer us an opportunity to be insulated, hemmed in. Not just visually, either. Sound is muffled and muted. Fog, like snow, condenses our awareness of the other. It is OK to consider yourself and what you need, to forget for an instant or two the rest of humanity, to look deep within—because looking without brings only more ambiguity and confusion.
In his extensive journals, Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “An object seen in a moderate light displays little difference in the light and shade; and this is the case towards evening or when the day is cloudy, and works then painted are tender and every kind of face becomes graceful.” In a different section, “Note in the streets, as evening falls, the faces of the men and women, and when the weather is dull, what softness and delicacy you may perceive in them.” To the artist, cloudy, foggy days bring out the inner beauty rather than the superficial, radiant beauty of a person.
Not just people, under the shade and shadow of fog, all life is betrayed as tender, graceful, soft, and delicate. The shadow and shade of COVID-19 betrays us as tender and graceful, soft and delicate. Our hard edges and sharp contours blurred and hazy by the greater need of being human.