Seeing in the Fog

We have had many gray rainy days here in North Carolina where fog often blankets the world outside my window. As morning breaks I can barely see three houses down the street until all else melds into a monochromatic gray scale of assorted shapes. Off in the distance I can see a lamppost or some twinkling Christmas lights cheerily showing me where the road is, or a tree. Everything is soft-edged and soupy with a decidedly dreamy (or eerie) feel.

Yet when I bring my eyes back to the page I’m writing (yes I write this long-hand on paper before typing it up on the computer)…then everything is crisp and in technicolor, hard edges everywhere as I look around my chair. My eyes aren’t straining anymore. They can rest on a certainty of knowing what is right there at hand.

Gouache in Ohuhu Sketchbook. Double page-spread.

I have the same experience as I gaze into the future. Recognizable and unrecognizable shapes loom in mist out of a gray world. A few lampposts can be seen for some distance, but beyond that, everything dissolves into nearly the same color of fog. I keep walking, one foot after the other, throughout the day. Yet I regularly have to bring my gaze down to my feet to be sure I’m still on the sidewalk, or road, or trail.

Immediately, when my gaze is brought to the here and now, all is clear. I see where I am, what I am doing and what needs doing. I see and enjoy who I’m with and what my hands are making. My shoulders drop a notch or two as the present is far more in focus than what lies ahead. Though I am called to keep walking, to keep moving forward, and even though I want to determine where “forward” is headed, I am nevertheless only ever here, right where my feet are planted. I am only ever working with just what is in my hands at this very moment.

Watercolor in Ohuhu Sketchbook. Playing with complementary colors to create gorgeous grays.

Often, as I knit, or draw, or spin, I am dreaming of my next project, sketch, or wool braid. Do you do this too? I love that misty dreamy world of possibilities and I gaze longingly down the street of blinking lights heralding the next festive knit or series of drawings or colorful wool. There is absolutely not a thing wrong with this but I’m noticing that if I stay there too long, I miss the beautiful stitches I’m making right now. I miss out on the color and feel of the pens and paints on paper or the wool in my hands as it winds into the wheel. I might even miss a stitch, or curve of a line, or I could easily over-twist the wool as I peer into the misty, albeit dreamy world of future possibilities.

Ohuhu Sketchbook. Gouache. 4″ x 6″.

I’m learning to keep my gaze right here, as I sit in this chair, or knit this sock, or wash this dish or wrap this present. When my gaze is pulled into a future unknown, I kindly acknowledge it, gently recognize its presence and then return to the work at hand. Even if I’m having to do something unpleasant, this too is a part of my present life, and in some measure it is a present to be present for and with.

May you dear reader, as you move through this holiday season, find focus in all your making, be it holiday cookies or handmade gifts. May the murky future twinkle every so gently, calling you forward into the new, yet unknown year of present gifts!❤️


The Light Letters

Did you know I am now sending out a weekly Letter to bring a little Light & Hope to your making days? It is meant to encourage you as a creative person, and also to let you know of creative goings-on in my life. If you’d like to receive this weekly email, you can sign up HERE!

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