With deadlines bearing down on me today, I have limited time to explore. I know what I want, though – the hocus pocus of vanishing focus. I want a receding object to perform fog’s trick, “Now you see it. Now you don’t.”
I find my subject. The railroad bridge over the river works perfectly. Literal tons of steel and rock vanish right before my eyes. I smile with the impossibility of it.
Why do we think of fog as menacing? I suppose it’s a Victorian vestige: danger lurks with deliberate footfalls in cobblestone alleys. But the nearest I come to London fog is the antiquated raincoat by that same name in my closet. (One that would be useful in this mist, come to think of it.)
I prefer to see the beauty in fog. It transforms any ordinary scene. As poet Amy Clampitt writes, “A vagueness comes over everything, as though proving color and contour alike dispensable.” That is, when we can see objects at all. I peer down a row of houses to see them erased, absorbed into the white.
This is what God wants us to have in mind when he says in Isaiah 44:22 that he has “blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sin like mist.” What a beautiful image for us to meditate on! Our sin, the steel and stone of our rebel ways, is swallowed up in his suffused grace.
Gone. Just like that. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Boggles the mind. Delights the heart.
Lord, the above verse ends with your call for us to return to you, for you have redeemed us. That redemption was no slight of hand, no misdirection of your justice by your love, but the impossible marriage of the two in the sacrifice of your Son. I return to you again today, Lord, in wonder, love and praise.