“Some people go for those sultry evenings, sipping cocktails in the blue, red and grey.” –The Who
For as long as I can remember, the fog has always spoken to me. It began when I was just a little girl, spending summers on the Connecticut shore.
Scrawny, tan, and dirty blonde hair full of salt and lemon juice and long summer days, I longed for the foggy mornings of August. Wrapped tight under summer sheets and quilts just warm enough, the cool mist filtered through the open windows and grazed my cheeks with chill and salt.
The low muffled sounds of foghorns on sailboats making their way through the thick air awakened me with a calm like no other. The smell of blueberry pancakes cooking on the griddle triggered my senses.
Cozying up in a sweatshirt worn to perfection, I made my way downstairs. Staring out at the uncertain looking ocean, I found my happy place. Lost in dreams and wonder, I slowly worked my way through a heaping plate of pancakes – the syrup warmed to just the right temperature. Mom. A taste of Mom.
Later, I made my way to the beach. Bundled up against the cool air, I shivered for a moment. After days of heat and sand and endless sun, it was a welcome break. Digging my feet into the cool sand, I sat and watched the fog begin to recede.
Calm. The fog always brought calm to my little introverted soul.
We all have a time of day, it seems, when calm descends upon us. For me, a foggy mid-summer morning always brought the most peace.
For my father, it was a summer sunset.
Night after night he stood on the deck, summer cocktail in hand, staring off toward that untouchable place where the ocean meets the sky. Watching as colors and clouds collided, a calm would come over him.
Perhaps it was the peace that the end of a day well lived brings. Or maybe it was the dreams of tomorrow that washed over him. Whatever it was, the stress seemed to dissipate the moment he stepped foot on the wooden deck, aged by salt and sun.
I never stopped to ask. Aware of the power of time and scenery, I stood beside him in these serene moments but didn’t break the silence. I watched with interest, taking in his moment – surrounding myself with his calm.
Perhaps I should have.
The scene played out over and over as I grew. Side by side in the blue, red and grey – staring out into the horizon.
It wasn’t until after he was gone that I truly understood the significance of these moments. Sharing the calm – listening to the quiet – watching the days slip away.
The fog rolled in quickly just the other day, putting an abrupt end to an otherwise sunny winter day in Los Angeles. Riley was the first to notice.
“Wow, Mommy, look – the sky is grey and foggy now. What happened to the sun?”
I followed her gaze and watched the cool, misty air work its way through the palm trees, leaving a trail of drops in its path.
Hugging my favorite hoodie, worn to perfection, around me, I opened the French doors and let the fog envelop us for a moment. Closing my eyes and inhaling the scent of salt and sea, the calm washed over me.
Years and life have erased the pain of a loss that once left a hole in my heart, but memories and moments keep my father close – even when the sound of his voice fades into the distance.
My greatest hope is that somewhere out there – where the ocean meets the sky – he found his eternal sunset. And maybe, just maybe, he’s watching after me from the blue, red and grey…