I wandered the Oregon Coast for a week to see beaches. I wanted sunny beaches— bright all-revealing shores that I could read and write by. The first day I was met by something entirely different: fog. I could barely see the ocean waves unless I stood right at the shore, but I could watch wave after wave of fog drift passed me and obscure my view.
My desire to wander was stronger than my desire to stay out of the cold, wet fog. I put on my rain coat and started walking the black sand. I could hear the ocean waves colliding on shore, but could see nothing. As I walked towards the sound, outlines of rocks came into view. Their odd contours were made more mysterious by the color-consuming fog that let only black and white through. I approached these outlines, one after another, and watched as their details came slowly into view like an idea realized or an emotion raptured. I found myself walking miles of beach to see what this outlines was, and the next, and the next. It was like chasing mysterious phantoms, their existence known only from a distance by their very faint appearance.
There were bright sunny beaches at other days on the coast, but I’ve turned this experience of wandering in the fog over in my head the most. It might be that it works as a metaphor for what I do and love in life that brings me back to this memory. I have always been interested in walking towards those distant phantom outlines of ideas and emotions that only reveal their details when we walk through the fog and approach them. Isn’t this why we write? Why we read? Why we listen intently to our friends and lovers? We want to understand these distant things, and the only way to do that is through our effort— by putting on our rain coats and trudging through sand.