When you meet someone newly relocated to the grand San Joaquin Valley of Central California the topic of weather will quickly be broached:

                “Hot enough for you? Well lucky for us it’s a dry heat.”


                “Winter’s pretty mild around here ‘cept…for the fog.”

At which point the newly arrived will probably answer, “Oh fog, no I’m used to fog, I grew up in [fill in the blank with the name of somewhere with anemic coastal-style fog.]”

Or better yet, they will tell you they grew up in the Midwest with snow blizzards. If you have good home training you’ll politely smile and welcome them to the area. If you’re not so well-mannered you’ll guffaw and tell them they have no idea what they’re in for. Either way, if you happen to meet up with these folks again a few months into “fog season” you’ll see their self-assurance has eroded and their eyes are bugged out and glassy.

At it’s thickest you cannot tell the difference between Tule fog or my mohair sweater.

“This is way worse than any fog/snow I’ve ever seen. It’s soooooo thick!”

[ “Toldja!” (or, wanted to tell you) so!]

Fog greeted the King kids on their move to California 1964. (However, we left the snow gear back in Michigan.)

Tule (too-lee) fog is a weather phenomenon unique to the San Joaquin Valley. Named after the Tule River, the fog is produced when moist air fills the valley bed and is trapped against the cold damp ground by an inversion layer of warmer air above. Essentially the vapor droplets in the fog freeze forming an impenetrable cloud of suspended ice. Seeing the fog make its winter-y creep into the Valley got me to musing about patience.


Prior to the start of every year, I pull an angel oracle card with a quality to chew on throughout the next year. In essence it becomes my theme for the year and a guide post through the months and events in my life. Patience was my angel message for 2019 and, boy-oh-boy, was this theme thick in my life last year!

She’s knitting!!!

That message of patience drummed loudly as I launched my Hummingbird Alchemy business. It whispered in my ear as various family members encountered challenging situations. I heard it buzzing overhead like fluorescent lighting while I slogged through commitments to projects and groups and decisions related to each of those commitments. I was reminded to be patient all year long and I would

[insert huff of breath right here]

tell myself to be patient until I finally had a sit-down with myself to take a closer look at my energy exchange with my “need” for patience.

waiting vs. patience

I looked at my expectation that patience must have a pace; that even in the pause we consider to be our place of rest inside patience there is still that straining against the reins that the gallop will soon commence if I just take a breath right here…and wait. But waiting and being patient are not the same thing. Waiting is expectation nursing a giant Tootsie Pop – someday you’ll reach that chewy center. On the other hand as I’ve recently discovered, patience has no outcome, no chewy nougat reward at the end. It.just.is.

in the mist

 And that brings me back to Tule fog…Have you ever tried to keep an object clearly in your sight lines with the fog swirling around you? Impossible, no? In fact, the strain can bring on hallucinations. Instead, if we relax into the fog surrounding us and soften our gaze, our other senses heighten.  We are brought back to ourselves to a sensual experience of life at this precise moment. Fog is not linear. It swirls and curls. Opening up unexpectedly in one moment and then the swallowing whole objects or vistas in the next. There is no need to pause or hold our breath to wait for something to happen. Everything that needs to happen is. Just like those ice crystals suspended in air. It might seem like they are stuck, held in stasis, but without watching and waiting events are occurring. Tule fog contributes its unique qualities to the ecosystem just by being. That is the gift of fog. That is the gift of patience.

I wanted reassurance that patience had a pace, that it moved me closer to a finish line, but I have come to realize that I can’t make slow or fast from patience. I can, however, find peace.

Can you find it, too?

Thanks for spending a moment with me looking at things From Ground Level,

P.S. Feel like you need some peace and patience in your life? Schedule a session with me https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=17985448

P.P.S. Freedom is my 2020 angel. I’ll keep you posted.

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