Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coming Up For Sun

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.
Carl G. Jung

In my late 20's, my husband and I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. For one year, two months and five days. Yes, it wasn't my favorite place to live. Beautiful, though. Recreational haven summer and winter and my oldest son was born there, but not quite my cup of tea for various reasons that are unimportant to this tale.

For Salt Lake's role in this post is to merely provide a metaphor utilizing their temperature inversion that occurs each winter. That time of year when the ban goes up on wood burning fireplaces and the fog moved in. For months one would awake not only to not see across the street, but no view past the front door as well.

I worked for an oil and gas company and had finally attained an office with a window. Excited at the prospect of having my own place and view, I had to wait months for the air to clear and the view of the Salt Palace across the street to come into focus. Living in this blur became normal, I suppose. Wasn't like you arose each day, noses pushed to the window in anticipation of some one's arrival or the first snowflakes of winter. For you knew out there was just the norm. Life in the fog.

On weekends, my husband and I would drive the 20 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon to ski at Alta or Snowbird. As we began our ascent up the mountain, the fog abated and above the black cloud cloaking our entire city, the sun shone intensely. I'd ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain and see all the way down to the hidden valley, as though a tent cover kept it isolated from the rest of the world. Like Truman's world in The Truman Show. (Probably some metaphor for my stint in Salt Lake in that as well, but another time.)

If we flew to Denver to visit family during the inversions, the return trip to Salt Lake took longer than scheduled. Often we circled above the city, waiting for a break in the clouds so the plane could dip into the abyss and land safely.

I doubt I need to tell you that happiness was Salt Lake City in my rear view mirror. Although 24 years have passed, seems I've returned to living in that fog most of this past year. Only this time the visual effects of Salt Lakes' inversion coveted my brain.

Time has offered a chance for the mist to begin its evaporation process. Lately, I often yearn for a schedule. Substitute teaching doesn't quite provide that as other than Thursdays and Fridays, I'm never certain what days I might work. Or when I may fall into a longer gig for a teacher with a sick child. Most of my sub work is based on request by the teachers, so simply saying I will work these three days and do such and such on the others is not a viable choice right now.

However, the work has provided an easy escape while biding this passage of time. There is no homework so my day is done when the school bell rings. With my youngest son gone, I don't have to keep my energy up to attend baseball games or school events. I can sink into my chair at home and watch Jeopardy and then decide what frozen entree we will eat for dinner.

I do feel that with the promise of spring, the haze is beginning to lessen. I feel certain things awakening in my brain that I haven't felt in some time -- a yearning to put my pen in hand and write something. Anything. My half finished novel has begun a slow chug in my thoughts. Poor Lily, my main character that has been stuck in a wheat field in South Dakota suffering a panic attack most certainly deserves a change of scenery.

For whatever reason, perhaps time is what it takes to find a clearing for oneself when the fogs of life brings a burdensome weight. As this fog dissipates, the heaviness seems to lessen also. I see a few rays of sun seeping through the clouds.

Provides hope in this search for new beginnings. I'm starting a list--a list of things I want to do in my life. Nothing too grand, at first.

1. Buy tomato plants
2. Sign up for a writing conference this summer
3. Make a list of all the places I want to visit in my lifetime
4. Go get a pedicure
5. Get excited about the vacation coming up with my husband. Our celebration of getting all three sons to 18 and college, without any pregnancies or jail time.

Seems a good start. A fairly easy step to fumble my way into the sunshine.


  1. Yes, let Lily out of that wheat field! Good luck with the writing.

  2. So glad the fog is lifting and your list is very attainable. Enjoy those beautiful healthy sons who give you both so much pride.
    Sending big hugs.....:-)

  3. I like that positive list at the end - that's a good start towards a summer.

    Know what you mean about SLC - once had a few days there when we went on the Amtrak from Denver. Far too clean and orderly and very odd I found it.

  4. I'm with you - the continual Salt Lake City fog would have evaporated my soul.

    Nicely written post. I like the flow of it...I think you are starting to rise up out of the fog. :-)

    Cheers to a new beginning this spring!

  5. So glad to see you're coming back...been wondering where you you've been...
    Becky @ abbeystyle

  6. "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" [Percy Bysshe Shelley]

    I'm with you on the promise of spring. I saw a rack of seed packets in the grocery store today and it gave me instant hallucinations ... the smell of damp earth, the feel of April mist on my face, visions of tomato plants dancing in the breeze. Can't wait!

  7. Nice to hear the fog is lifting. But, LOL, buy tomato plants :) We still have snow happening.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  8. So glad that the sun is peeking through the clouds for you and letting you know there are brighter days ahead......Me? I'm great NOW! Thanks to you I now know I'm not losing it.....I'm just stuck in Utah(in my head)!lol.

  9. All this time, Lily's been having a panic attack??? Girlfriend, go give her some xanax or something! A hot spring to jump into, a nice buttery nipple shot from the local bartender, or a deep tissue massage and a little reflexology from another camper/masseuse in training.

    My character is having a panic attack too, but she's also having a good time with it. A VERY good time. ;-)

  10. I've been in that same fog for months now and am struggling to get into a clearing myself. You've made a good start out of it with your list, and I'll be wishing you luck and light.

  11. So glad you are coming out of the fog. Great list, also. Enjoy the upcoming vacation with your husband--and have fun writing!!

  12. Why Julie...are you experiencing a bit of the Empty Nest Syndrome? Call those Bunco Bitchy Babes and get some activity going!

    Take some very long walks while planning the rest of Lily's life.

    I know it's hard. We all go through the fog season. For some it's a week here and there; for others, it lasts much longer.

    Thanks for the SLC warning. I have to live and vacation in places that have SUN!

  13. Foggy days can be beneficial, a time to process and revive, your post proves that. I've been in a light fog myself the past few weeks. I should make a list too!

  14. A very good start. Keep going. Keep making lists. Keep looking for the sunshine. It's there.

    I love this post. We're at different stages in life, but I feel some of these same things.

  15. Great list! That vacation sounds especially good and like a perfect way to celebrate Spring! Enjoy!

  16. Love your list. Just the thing to help clear the fog. I especially like (and can relate to) what you've written about launching all three kids without jail time or pregnancies! Yay for that! In two short years, I will be able to celebrate the same thing - hopefully.....

  17. This looks like the perfect list to move forward into. I'm so glad to hear your fog is lifting, and look forward to hearing the stories as your wishes are granted.

  18. Hate to ask but have you done menopause yet? All of this sounds like my days then...and not knowing what was really going on! if so the book The Wisdom of Menopause by Dr. Christine Northrup (I could be wrong on the spelling) saved my life...she lets you know that your whole brain gets re-wired and you are really going to be ok..

  19. Julie,
    I laughed out loud at Lily's predicament - I want to read her story when you're done.

    Nice analogy going on here, and one I can relate to. It's awfully good to find somebody else shares (and does it in such an articulate manner) an experience that is a little unsettling. I'm trying to find my way out of the fog by constructing an internal framework - discipline, basically. Without the schedule and expectations imposed on me by paid work and motherhood, I've been drifting for too long. So good to read this and loved your list. Let us know how/when #2 happens please.

  20. Run, Lily! It's only in your mind.

    I know from experience... You writing seems much more lighter than it has in a long time.

    It is a good to have a list...


  21. I have that same sense of renewal and awakening when Spring rolls around.

  22. What a beautiful post. So visceral, and I think there are elements here that all of us can relate to. Life is a series of cycles, and some of them just happen to be foggy (sometimes, very foggy). I'm glad to read that you are emerging. And I bet Lily will welcome you with open arms...

  23. That's the beauty of fog.. it always lifts eventually. Enjoy your time. A vacation should be lovely.

  24. With winter coming to an end I could use a pedicure myself!


  25. You and Lily need to get outathere! So glad you are at this point in your life where you can collapse in a chair, breathe, and reach for the pen.

  26. Hi from Turkey, where Blogger is up and open today (they allowed access shortly after I had a friend migrate my blog over to Wordpress and then spent hours researching and buying a private domain name...guess I'll continue with that plan, since Blogger can get blocked at any point again here).

    Anyhow, your post reminds me that plans and adjustments have to be made at every stage of life, that it never magically becomes clearer or easier. I hope this next year gets Lily out of that wheatfield (doesn't she have butter to churn?) and your brain free of mists. Start with the tomato plants.

  27. Cannot tell you how much I relate to the brain fog these days! Sooooo glad you are going to get Lily out of that field. Nice to have some energy again....love the pedicure :)

  28. I am foggy often enough (I come by that honestly, you have to meet my mother) so I would not like SLC as a place to live. Your list is great for the here and later. And you made me laugh out loud with your hopes for your sons.


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