Brain Fog Advisory

by Angela Doll Carlson July 07, 2015

The alert was positioned below a “flood warning” on the weather page. The flood warning was red and flashing, full of details and predictions and time frames for waters rising. The “fog advisory” was also in red but not flashing, not serious enough to merit predictions and time frames and text messages to my smart phone. Even so, it was the fog advisory that caught me.

Today the sun was streaming into my window after days of pounding rain, hidden behind clouds, unable to travel to me even when the rain finally let up. The humidity was so strong that even when the rains did stop the air was still heavy laden with moisture, gathered and ancient, hanging there as I’d walk to my car, hanging there as it attached to my raincoat, my face and hair.

The sun appeared this morning as I drank coffee while sitting in my usual spot. It filtered in through the windows, having broken free of the cloudbank that kept it captive so long. It was no longer a prisoner to the measure of the weather patterns, the atmosphere, the fickle barometer. Still, the flood warning blinked at me through the screen of my phone—with text messages, with flashing signs. With fog advisories.

It will rain again and it will rain hard. I can feel it in my skin.

But it is the fog advisory that caught me, a brief alert, barely worth mentioning to the larger demographic of the area. It won’t affect you, it seemed to say, but it’s important you know.

I am not clinically depressed. The veil of fog that swirls around my eyes is probably situational or hormonal or related to lapsed exercise and poor food choices. The foggy brain only keeps me from following up on household chores or working out or running to the store for the cheese I need for this dish I’m making for dinner.

I used cheddar on the pita bread pizzas instead of mozzarella or the Italian mix that I would usually buy, and I hoped no one noticed. I pretended it was a conscious choice to make the substitution and not a result of that foggy brain and depression. It didn’t work. The kids can tell the difference; cheddar tastes tart on the tongue. They know these things. They’re quick to tell me.

The fog advisory was for a different county in my area, just outside of my comfort zone. I could imagine the morning fog outside the window of a woman much like me, sitting with her coffee and her computer and her lack of motivation or energy. I could imagine the moisture hanging there just beyond the couch, perhaps French doors leading to the wide board porch with paint peeling a little on the edges.

I could imagine the fog pressing toward the warmth of the house and dissipating into droplets, into mist. I could imagine myself reaching toward it, standing up to get a better look, stepping outside to feel the wet air on my face and hair. It’s attractive. I am drawn to it, thinking that if the fog outside matches the fog in my head that all things would at least be equal somehow.

But outside my window today the sun is king. The clouds are present but stringy and retreating, the last remaining stragglers from the long rain war we’ve had this week. It will come back, a new front will move in later today or early tomorrow. The sky battle will emerge with dark clouds forming a line against the basic blue, lightning and thunder will rumble to signal the start. Heavy rain will come. I look forward to this. It will feel like a relief from the building pressure.

The fog advisory beckons to me and I want to drive to the fog today, to find it hanging there on the porch of that woman like me, who is watching and waiting. I want to drive to the fog and sit in it and let it gather around me, drawn to the warmth of my body wrapped in Gore-tex and wool, denim and cotton. I want to drive to wherever the fog resides, that middle space between cold and warm, wet and dry, rain and nearly rain, the tension, the tide, the pressure that builds just before the rain. I consider driving there on the way to the grocery store or the bank or the gas station. I consider driving there under the pretense of errands or adventure. I won’t go, though. I know I won’t go. The fog is already too heavy.

Instead, I will let the fog hang here in my head, draping my body like a blanket. I will be the woman much like me, in her usual spot, sipping coffee and watching for the clouds, waiting for the heavy rain, waiting for the pressure building and the relief that comes, finally, from the eventual burst of storms.


Angela Doll Carlson
Angela Doll Carlson

Author

Angela Doll Carlson is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist whose work has appeared in Thin Air Magazine, Eastern Iowa Review, Apeiron Review, Relief Journal Magazine, St. Katherine Review, Rock & Sling and Ruminate Magazine, among others. She has published two books, “Nearly Orthodox” and “Garden in the East.”



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