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Fog and Shadow

Updated on August 24, 2016
Walking the path
Walking the path
Into the fog and shadow
Into the fog and shadow
Clinging to the Calm
Clinging to the Calm

Living in the Sunshine

Dancing in the Rain

Delighting in Each Day

Waiting for the spring to Come Again

Night falls as I am walking one winter evening along a tree line I know so well

The black outline of the trees against the clear night sky gives me hope

I stop to look up and count the stars and soon become dizzy on my path

So I lay in the cool grass staring up into the full moon and a million tiny stars.

I see to my left a haze beginning to form, partially covering the clearing and I sit up.

I realize my crisp night world is being overcome with a dense fog. I still see the black outline of trees so I hurry to continue on my path, trying to find my way home. My heart beats faster when I see its tendrils roll across my ankles and out over the lawn and I know I’ll not make it to the crest of the hill before it overtakes me. Shadows begin forming all around creeping and climbing in the light of that Full Moon above. Halfway up the hill, I am bathed in darkness and the ground falls away. I can’t see my own hands or feet. I begin a tumble in softness of grayness. I feel the trunk of a tree, one of the black ones I admired before, I’m sure. I follow it down, for gravity tells me, it’s one rule on which I can depend. I settle at the bottom of the soft warm forest floor. Something from behind me cracks and I hear footsteps, but my heart does not race. It’s a strange feeling I have here, out of time and place. Like resting and freedom, no longing, no caring…the world will move on without me. I feel a comfort here in this place of shadow and fog. Some call it depression, which it sneaks in from the night and takes me like a thief, so gently and softly from my bed. Leaving only my shell, for the rest to talk with and try to reason with, but the core of me resides here in this forest. Comfortably resting, needing nothing, asking for nothing, I am not a hostage and yet I choose not to leave. I have found myself here often enough to know what a struggle it is to fight my way out, heard all of the unkind words of how cruel I am, been so disappointed to know that the world had been so upset by my disappearance. (It is only my mind, you see…not all of me. And don’t most people live life unconsciously anyway?)

The footsteps grow closer and stop behind me. I feel a warm cloak cover me. a bed made of leaves appears next to me. The hooded figure in a ragged cloak appears in front of me, he has an old kind face. He says, “You have been here many times, we have saved your things. We will care for your needs and protect you so that your mind will not experience the Horrors. You’ve learned much by returning here and not going to the Unsheltered Places. We have not much, but here, there is peace.” With those words he was gone, but left a quartz and obsidian piece in my hand. And water by a small fire he left burning.

So I’ve learned to wait it out. Settle into the fog. Let it overtake me and let my mind heal what it must and go where it may. My subconscious speaks at this time to my conscious mind and together they make pacts to send me on my way. I only beg and plead when I hear the distant voices on the outside begging me to come out – leave me until I am ready. If you ask me too soon, only hurtful words will come from me. If you ask me for decisions, I will only make the ones that will be easiest for me to be alone. Through many years I've learned not to come out into the world before I've finished this process. No one but me understands what goes on inside this fog. No one can penetrate this darkness and join me in here, and I like it that way. That's what makes it so peaceful. It's the intrusion, over and over again - disturbing this process, disturbing my sleep, disturbing my dream - that brings up anger which is the last thing I want to feel when my soul is so vulnerable. In this anger I will begin to shut the doorways to my heart and mind, with an ax I will cut at the roots that try to pull at my ankles in this forest to drag me out of my seclusion. And if it does constantly pull me out to address this an that...I will retreat to start the process over. But the anger and tears come with me. And it takes longer for me to get rid of that pain and I resent it. Sometimes in my anger I will simply shut it out and forget it to be rid of it. There is so much work to be done here in the quietness of this forest and I can't stay here forever. Or maybe I fear that with too many of the outside intrusions, I'll choose to remain here forever. I asked for a small thing in the beginning, to be alone. No one understands my need to be inside myself. No matter how many times you say you understand, if you are forcing me out prematurely, you do not understand. I've hoped for the one who really understood, but it was probably part of the forest dream. The cloaked man in the wood.

Eventually the fog will clear, (sooner if I am left alone) and I will see the sun again. The path will emerge before me and I’ll find myself before my home. I’ll go inside and see what awaits me there. Depending on the greeting, I know exactly what to do. For I’ve emerged from my fog and shadow ever stronger, with purpose and a new understanding of my entire world and my place in it. I’ve seen everything from every angle. I’m ready for tearing down walls, rebuilding, renewal, making things stronger or having to leave and find my own way. After surviving a stay in the land of fog and shadow, there is “no stone left unturned” in my life.

Then is the time for embracing the Sunshine and dancing in the rain. Only a few more months until the Spring will come again – flowers will emerge from the snow one by one and soon all the land will be covered in green. Once again making the land of Fog and Shadow seeming so remote and long ago, but so necessary. I know I always walk a border between the two worlds. And I know my life is richer for that, if only people could see it as one of my strengths and not a weakness.


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    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Eiddwen, I thank you for taking so much time today on a journey into my world. Take care, my friend.and thanks so much for your votes, I'd love to make a living one day from writing.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      You have without a doubt Erin brought your words to life beautifully.

      I press awesome,beautiful and rate up.

      Take care


    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      toknowinfo, thank you so much for your words, they mean a great deal to me. I will keep sharing and writing as long as it makes a difference to someone - whether they let me know it does or not. I know in my heart I'm speaking for someone else besides me. I remember being a teenager and cutting out poems and words that represented how I felt because I hadn't quite found the right way to express it on my own yet. Now that I have the tools, I can't seem to stop writing. Thank you for your votes and rating. Oh, and I've begun work on my book about bipolar. I am stuck on the title though. I think I'm going to come to all of you for that. :)

    • toknowinfo profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Erin,

      You write a beautiful self expression of your journey. Your writing touches my heart and soul and your honesty is both revealing and thought provoking. You have a wonderful talent and a strength I very much admire in you. Thank you for sharing. Rated up, awesome and beautiful.

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Denise, Thank you for you heartfelt comment. I appreciate your support and understanding. For everyone in the world who just stops to think before they judge makes it so much easier when labels get thrown around. I feel truly blessed to have so many understanding people in my life who know and trust me enough to give me space and time to let me work through my shadow time to let me walk naturally through to the other side. They also trust me enough to know I'm responsible enough to seek medical care on my own, I don't need prodding or reminding. It's my social responsibility as well as my own key to a happy life.

      I write honestly hoping that I can one day assemble a book of the whole world of bipolarity, what its like on the inside. When you do tell your story, if somehow I miss the publication, please drop me a note and let me know its out there, I would love to read it!

      The Year of the Butterfly was actually what came out of this fog and shadow piece!

      Brightest Blessings, Namaste'

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Erin, this intimate hub you share of your fog / forest world is a blessing to many people. Thank you for sharing and through your words, lighting the path of many who stumble in the dark trying to understand...or who is afflicted with depression, bipolar disorder, or any one of the many diagnosis which seperate them from 'normal' folks. I use that word 'normal' lightly.

      Your description of your world during this time is masterfully told, as only one who has been there can reveal. It is filled with the skillful use of imagery that paints the picture of the vulnerability of heart and soul during this time.

      To withdraw may be the only right thing to do in protection of the fragile, tender being in need of compassion and care. Healing does not have an agenda or a schedule.

      God bless you and your journey. Been there with the depression, and you inspire me to tell my story...a little bit down the road.

      Thanks for another beautiful hub.

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Epi, you leave me speechless again with your words. Blessings as always...

    • epigramman profile image


      7 years ago are a poetic child of nature - and one of nature's many poetic miracles .......

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Always Exploring, I'm so glad you got my email. Love to you and your family.

      Nell, thanks for stopping by, its always great to see you! It was written for those who understand, and I knew that those who have been there would recognize the feelings in the shadow and fog. Its hard to reach a person when they are in this state and it can be frustrating but when you've been there, its maybe a little easier to take. With all you've gone through, I'm not surprised, but you are so much stronger for it. You faced it head on, and came out with wisdom and strength.You truly are an amazing woman, Nell. Love, Erin

      Penny, my dear sister, I'm so happy you came back to visit! I knew you would see that in the story - and that was what I was fighting for all along - my right to stay and heal for as long as I needed to and walk out strong on my own. I always feel people try to drag me out, like being in the dark is a bad thing. Letting your mind go where it will without obligation is like delving into nothingness and re-emerging as a warrior, a phoenix. The healing that goes on is amazing. And the constant interruption of the process or denial altogether is so harmful if not dangerous. I can't speak for everyone, maybe next time I'll write something else and take a poll. I'll make it more clear. Thanks so much for pointing that out my sister. Brightest Blessings!

    • pennyofheaven profile image


      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi my sister; Excellent and well written hub. Such pleasure to read your insights into the usefulness of staying in the forest to heal. It is a rare soul who knows that it is far better to stay where you are protected while you are healing. If that is the forest with the fog then that is where it shall be. That is where the healing transforms the pain into all those attributes that makes us much stronger and better able to move forward with our lives in peace. As you say though it cannot be done without going through the process fully. Beautiful wisdom! I am truly blessed to have a friend like you!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, I totally understand this, my brother has depression, he has suffered for years, and I know to leave him alone, I also had it badly what with cicumstances around my and a bad thyroid, which, when it is low, can cause this, you explained it really well, thanks nell

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am happy to hear that you are out of the fog.My family is doing better right now.I have had bouts of depression in my life.I've found that writing is a wonderful release.Thank you for commenting.


    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      b.Malin, I keep meaning to make it back to read your lastest short story - I will be back! thanks so much for coming back to visit and your sweet words

      Cagsil, thanks so much for visiting me again! I see what you mean about depression and its true for some kinds, but there are many different kinds of depression that have nothing to do with "self-control" nor is it to be seen as a weakness - its a real medical condition that needs monitoring and medication. It is a condition that affects not only the person suffering from it but those close to them as well. Sometimes you can see it coming, other times it sneaks up on you like a bad dream. Unfortunately, the world doesn't wait, and episodes don't wait for a weekend or time themselves when its convenient. I'm always more than happy to share as I completely stand for "Eliminating the Stigma of Mental Illness". Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen :)

      Always Exploring, My heart goes out to you being the family of those diagnosed as bipolar. I feel I should do some more factual hubs on this. Mania is difficult to recognize, usually until its too late unless its severe from the start. And if they are both rapid cyclers - going from one to the other, I'm sure its maddening for you and them. I pray you all find the help you need and therapists to make it easier. Thanks for your blessings, I just try to write about it so that others can know how it feels and what its like on the inside. I'm very fortunate now and keep my fingers crossed. A great support system and keeping to a regular schedule can do wonders. Please follow my links above and email me if I can help!

      Namaste' all and please know I'm not in the fog and shadow today! Writing has always been therapeutic for me :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This touched me.I have a sister and a Niece who were diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.When they are in the manic stage,it's very difficult to keep up,then when they make the abrupt change,it breaks your heart.I feel for you.May you find that resting place.

      God Bless



    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Thanks Mom, for caring to always read my hubs and check in on me - its such a level deeper than just our phonecalls :)

    • Cagsil profile image


      7 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Erin, that's quite a bit you've brought to life on your hub. Many people have the same struggles, like you did or do. Many suffer from depression, but more people fail to realize it's a natural state of mind that occurs for a period of time. Those who lack self control let it rule their life and change their view. The will power to overcome depression is truly within the conscious mind, because it recognizes depression when it occurs and knows it won't be long before you find the answers you've been looking for. It's always a pleasure to see someone look within themselves for answers and giving themselves proper time to heal. Very nicely done. :) Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy learning about people. :)

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      7 years ago

      What a raw and emotional Hub...written so beautifully by someone who has walked that path...thanks for sharing Erin. LOL

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      beautifully written!!!

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      thank you so much. I tried so hard to put this into words, its not something so easy to convey. Brightest Blessings, Erin

    • vietnamvet68 profile image


      7 years ago from New York State

      this is beautifully written and heart felt my dear

      God Bless


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