Should we wish it, we could ramble on and on about the scientific properties of mist. I, for one, would like to rely on what I know to be true.
In the Black Hills of South Dakota, there is an old Sioux legend that the mist that enshrouds the Hills is exhaled from a sleeping white giant or the breath of the Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka. The Black Hills are a sacred place. After the Sioux won dominion over it, they were promised by soldiers and a president they could keep it, but when whispers of gold were posted in newspapers out west in 1863, miners risked death to venture into the Hills and stake a claim. It wasn’t until Custer came through with an expedition to find gold, in 1874, that the public learned there definitely was ‘gold in them thar hills’. Why? Because most miners who sought gold in the Hills, were never heard from again.
What about fog? The movie The Fog warns us, “Don’t go into the fog!” (I always hear that bit of dialogue when I see fog.) And, I half-expect Captain Drake and his crew to come walking out of it with a fishing hook in their hands.
Clint Eastwood played a DJ and got embroiled in the worst side of fandom when he heard ‘Play Misty For Me’ over the airwaves.
In Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End, a gigantic English armada waits on the other side of mist.
Have you ever walked in woods surrounded by mist? That would seem silly, but movies love this particular scene, especially when dealing with werewolf and vampire themes and a heroine too stupid to live. (TSTL syndrome isn’t rare among mortals.) Take Twilight, for instance. The bad vampires always appear from a mist as if floating on air: beauty and the beast, strength and weakness, love and fear, peace and mayhem, insulated in one entity, mist.
Today, as I was driving home from work, mist hovered low upon the ground and visibility was limited off in the distance. How was I to know there wasn’t an English fleet waiting to challenge me on the other side, if I might find myself stranded in the Bermuda Triangle, or whether or not I might meet Captain Drake, himself.
Imagination. Amazing how it works, isn’t it?
Imagination has power!
As writers, we often feel as though we are struggling free of mist, fleeing the beast bearing down upon us. When we cannot see what awaits on the other side of this achievement or that final or that request, and we cannot look back to see how far we’ve come, how are we to know that each challenge outweighs the risk?
We come prepared. We believe. By writing every day, nurturing our imaginations, tendering our hearts, balancing our mortality, and venturing where no writer has gone before, we WILL break out of whatever hurdle, or mist, stands between us and the bridge over the abyss. Like the Sioux in the Black Hills, if we focus on the sanctity of our calling, the breath of the Great Editor/Agent will spill down upon us, bringing us peace… and a three-book deal.
Now, isn’t that imagination? ;)
What do you think when you see mist? Do you get fanciful notions about pirates and villains, or can you see your way through it and to the other side without looking back?