This morning, a dense fog settled over my town. The visibility was so low, things just a few blocks away could not be seen. It felt like I had wandered into a strange world… and I only took a few steps out to take out the garbage! Feeling not quite ready for adventure and afraid of getting lost, I quickly returned inside.
This little incident in the morning got me thinking about a phrase from an old Chinese writing “in the midst of a five-mile-radius fog.” (Well, it is not really miles but some other old metrics, but for the sake of simplicity, let me stick with miles.) In my mother tongue, it is taken to refer to a state of confusion or a loss of sense of direction, as one would be if standing in the middle of a dense fog.
The reason why the phrase came to my mind today is because I am currently in the midst of a fog. And quite a dense one at that. I have been groping for some time now trying to find a way out, but the more I move around, the more I seem to get lost. I am so confused as to what more I could possibly do, I am this close to giving it up altogether!
But, actually standing in the fog this morning and being reminded of the phrase made me wonder why fog is chosen as an analogy for a state of confusion.
Maybe it is chosen because, by definition, it is a cloud at the ground and the air is always clear if you look above far enough.
Maybe it is chosen because it can be blown away by strong wind.
Maybe it is chosen because it usually dissipates by daytime.
So, maybe I can change the way I look at the problem and approach it from a different angle. Maybe I can suddenly be swept away by a great idea that would solve the problem in no time. And even if neither happens, maybe I can still be hopeful that the problem will be cleared in due course.
I think I will take one more crack at finding my way out of the fog. Heck, I’m already lost, so I might as well enjoy a bit of adventure, right? If I am successful, maybe I will scribble about it in a few days… stay tuned!