I like to swim or walk at the beach when the early mornings are covered with a pale velvet mist of maritime fog. Fog is a magic cloak that turns the visible world invisible. As I sit, the world emerges little by little to the tune of seagulls calling, dawn patrol surfers bobbing on swells, plunging waves ebbing into lips of white foam gently kissing the sandy shore. The sun inches higher in the sky; the maritime layer thins as light comes through, shining away the soft blanket of fog.
This is what it’s like, walking by the pearl gray ocean, bare feet on cool wet sand, seeing distance change into closeness. Distracted distance from my own nature, from my own being transforms into intimacy – the felt sense of muscles moving, heart beating, gladness flowing, love blooming for this world and every single thing in it. I walk towards a faraway point and soon it’s the landscape of right here, familiar and near. Time and space are fluid, the future point becomes the path I’m on right now, the distant shore moves imperceptibly closer.
In these uncertain times, there is something comforting about being in actual fog. Not being able to see far ahead reminds me to trust just where I am. I can’t see the misty future. This morning, even the sky and ocean can’t tell themselves apart. The surface of the ocean is soft blue gray reflecting the marine layer of pale fog above; they merge at the horizon – earth’s infinity pool dissolves the whole matrix of spatial reality.
This is the world of presence – sand, seagulls, people, pelicans, waves, just as they are. “Just like this”, as my first Zen teacher used to say. One by one, each thing offers itself to us. One after another, each thing is complete. Nature transmits this gift, without words. You can hear it, see, touch, taste and feel it. Take time each day to be nourished by this.