In the evenings, along the coast of Southern California, the marine layer rolls in part of the year and covers wide swaths of the southland. It’s what makes for blazing hot days – but cool evenings that require sweatshirts or jackets. The marine layer is also what makes cities like Temecula, perfect for growing grapes & making wine. I spent the first twenty-three years of my life watching this layer of cloud and fog roll in from the coast and over mountains. I spent my summers on OC beaches, with the “June Gloom” making our blue skies dark & grey (but not enough to keep us from the beach). The low hanging grey is as home as the Santa Ana winds, real Mexican food, and those places and people that I treasure and miss the most.
Along the central and northern coast, thick blankets of fog roll out from the sea toward land. San Francisco is one of my favorite places. Roaming around the city as a kid or teen, in the middle of a summer day – the temp could turn to chilly and the sky suddenly darker – as the fog blanketed the city. There’s something deeply comforting to me about the way it settles in. Maybe it’s the melancholy that follows writers around, that makes this comforting to me?
Except for right now. Right now, I’m in the midst of a fog that’s disorienting. It’s like the most socked-in fog I’ve ever experienced, except there’s not actually any fog in sight. I’m not intimidated by hard feelings, stressful circumstances, complicated relationships, dark nights of the soul, greys and shades of truth. We can suck the marrow out of life in these dark moments, in a way we can’t, when the sky is blue and everything is light and airy. But right now, I am dizzy and lost – as the dark settles in lower and lower. I can’t see past my own hand. After summers camping at San Clemente or in the Redwoods, or wandering through my favorite city, or watching the marine layer roll in over the “Ortegas” from my Grandma’s backyard, the fog, as it turned a bright day, dark – is comfort and home. It was the best kind of feeling and attached to so many of my favorite memories.
But right now, I can’t see clearly. It’s dark. Dark in a way I’m not comfortable with. And I’m not afraid of dark feelings and greying lines. I’m not afraid of wild things. But now? I can’t see through. I can’t see around. And I’m no closer to knowing what to do next, than I was the day the fog settled in.
And so I hope and pray that I’ll understand soon – why I’m here and how to find my way through the fog. Because right now, it’s too heavy and I long for clarity.