Five posts from this blog were recycled to provide five ‘thoughts for the day’ for the Sundays during August for East Coast Radio – this is the third.
My asthma was bad in June and my wife decided that some sea air would be good for me. One evening, we parked on the seafront in Bray and took the DART to Greystones.
We walked around the marina site and up to the cliff path. There was a sea mist that shrouded Bray Head and clouded the view. Damp and clinging, it made everything seem cold. On an evening when even the slightest breeze would have been welcome, there was not a breath to move anything. A wetness lay heavily over everything, and over everyone who walked through it. By the time we reached the promenade at Bray, we were very soggy.
I remember very different mists in my childhood days in England. The sea was miles from where we lived, and a damp evening on the Wicklow coast something I could not have imagined. On autumn mornings in England, the mist was a blanket of greyness that lay across the low lying moorland. In the summertime though, the mist was meant there would be bright days and blue skies. The mist along our country lanes would fade to reveal lush green meadows, or fields of wheat or barley. Going through the mist, there would be glimpses of rabbits and pheasants running for cover from my dad’s car.
Mist could make familiar roads mysterious. Shapes would change; houses passed every day had a different air about them. Concentrating on the way ahead, attention might be drawn to things that had been previously slipped by unnoticed. It seemed odd that something that obscured things could also make you aware of their existence.
Summer mist hid things, but it was also the sign of a glorious day to come.
There’s a line in the Letter of James in the Bible that was always troubling. “What is your life?” asks James. “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”.
Is James saying that life is like a wet evening on the cliff path; something that blocks your view of anything and leaves you feeling cold and not too cheerful?
Or is his idea of mist the sort of stuff that appears before a bright summer’s morning. Is he saying that life, like the mist, might appear for a while, only to vanish, but in vanishing it reveals things we had never even imagined.
Heaven as a country lane on an August morning – it would not be such a bad prospect.