Beauty beyond the mist

While in the Drakensberg mountains I get up most mornings before sunrise and make my way up a ‘small’ mountain that takes about 30 minutes walk from the chalet. From the top of this mountain I watch the sun rise. I am alone in the silence of nature and I witness the start of a beautiful day.

The mountain where I watch the sun rise
The mountain where I watch the sun rise

I have just returned from a 3-day visit to the mountains. We had a lot of rain. And the cloud cover did not give the sun much opportunity to shine as it usually does in sunny South Africa.

I awoke early on the last morning to walk up the mountain, desperately wanting to see the sun rise.  It had been raining on the two previous mornings. I looked out of the window in the hope that the weather had changed. It was still dark but I could see that there was a thick blanket of mist outside. The visibility was poor. I felt disappointed and wondered whether I should go on the walk. It looked cold outside. It was 5am and I decided to go back to bed instead. As I lay in bed, I felt torn. I wanted to see the sun rise but knew that it was pointless to go up the mountain. I wasn’t going to see anything. I couldn’t relax in bed and after about 5 minutes I got up again, got dressed and left the chalet to make my way up the mountain.

Every sun rise has been different. Every image has been unique. Today I was going to have another unique experience.

It can be dangerous walking in the mountains when there is thick mist with poor visibility. But I knew my way. There was also a path that guided my every step. While walking up, I was hoping that I would see a spectacular image of the sun revealing itself on the horizon as a bright ball of orange/red in the sea of mist.

I arrived on top of the mountain and knew that the sun was about to rise. It was 05h40. But the mist had thickened. I could not see further than a couple of metres in front of me.

Mist on the mountain
Mist on the mountain

I have included the picture above to give you some sense of the murkiness and greyness that stood between me and the beauty of a sunrise.

As I sat on a rock looking out, but not seeing anything it felt as if I entered a trance. The mist had forced me to look internally. And as I did this, I became aware of one predominant thought that was playing itself over and over again. There is beauty beyond the mist. I knew this because I had been up this mountain so many times before. I knew what the vista was like as I stood looking out in the distance. I knew that the sun was ‘out there’ revealing itself in its unique splendour. I knew this all. There was beauty that was presently being hidden by the mist. Knowing that there was beauty beyond the mist, was so reassuring as I sat on the rock looking out. I felt peaceful being enveloped in the mist. It too had a beauty. It covered me like a blanket; wrapping me up as one does a baby who is about to sleep.

I thought more about the nature of mist. It does not impede movement, but it does hamper vision. To move in mist, one needs to trust the internal vision that knows (or has faith) that a beauty exists that is presently being covered by the mist. By its nature, mist cannot endure. In time mist moves off, it lifts, it evaporates and with it the beauty that has been covered is revealed.

I found myself thinking of the work that I do in therapy. Problems tend to have a misty feel about them. No clear vision is possible. One cannot see out into the distance. The mist closes in. It forces one to ‘look inside’. As one turns the vision inward, this needs to be coupled with faith (or a knowing) that a beauty always exists beyond the mist.

But what if you have not experienced or seen or know that a beauty exists beyond the mist? Then your faith will be tested at the critical moment when your vision (or dreams) are being threatened. I returned from my walk with a deeper sense of faith in the life process.

The beauty that exists
The beauty that exists

8 thoughts on “Beauty beyond the mist

  1. Dave Nosworthy

    In the world of professional sport there is often such mist – but faith and experience tells me that just like you found…there is beauty beyond! Its a matter of patience and belief…
    Great article!

  2. Ken Jennings

    I wonder whether pressure/stress in professional sport or expectations of achievement tend to activate the mist and with it, the athlete can ‘get lost’ in the process, resulting in lowered performance. On a metaphoric level, can you imagine facing a fast bowler in the mist? It will be very difficult to see the ball. That’s why it is so important that the batsman has ‘clear’ vision (on an emotional and mental level). When the mind is uncluttered and the heart is settled and at peace, one is able to see a beautiful reality. I have also noticed that some athletes look ‘spaced-out’ as you connect to them when they are in a downward spiral (as if they are existing in the mist). They find it difficult to see the bigger picture.

  3. Different kettle of fish :-)

    A good insight to life, Just as long as life is kind enough to one so that the mist doesn’t permanently stay there or get thicker….

  4. Ken Jennings

    Thank you for your reflection.

    Very few things in life remain in a permanent state. I believe that there is ongoing evolving change in the inter-connected fabric of life. Some changes may be slow moving, which the eye may not notice.

    In my experience, life has its own wisdom. Although there may be times when we are not able to see through the mist, a bigger picture for life is unfolding.

  5. Mary Palmos

    Wow. So beautifully written, so thought provoking and all so very true.

    You are so right – we are all surrounded by mist in our daily lives. The trick is to look beyond the mist and to hope that whatever is waiting for us when the mist does clear up, is exactly what we have been searching for!

  6. Ken Jennings

    Your reflection triggered some interesting questions for me. So what is the beauty that exists in one’s life that one may not see (or acknowledge) when there is mist? What is one searching for or hoping to see when the mist moves off? For some, maybe it is ‘safer’ to remain in the mist than to encounter a ‘harsh’ reality that may not match up to one’s expectations? While in the mist one can build up a fantasy of ‘what could be’ rather than to encounter the reality of ‘what is’ (which may not be in line with what one was hoping for).

    When I arrived on top of the mountain and realised that I would not be able to see the sun rise due to the mist, I felt disappointed. Linking to your idea about searching, I had gone up the mountain to search for my sunrise. Walking up the mountain I also remember hoping that the mist would clear and the visibility improve. But it didn’t.

    I had been up on the mountain many times before so I knew the beauty that existed. Knowing that this beauty existed (even though I could not actually see it at that moment), helped me. With this knowing, I felt a shift in feeling; from disappointment to inner peace. With this transformation, I also got in touch with the mist. I remember thinking that mist also has its place in nature.


    Dear ken and del,
    what a beautiful piece (peace too) Relationships are the same, one knows the beauty of true togetherness and joy and this does sustain one when life gets “misty”. I was in a “fog” or “funk” and at times, still am, but knowing what life could be as a well woman, this is what I focused on. In fact, I find myself returning to the “mist” and it soothes me.

    Beautiful blogs, Ken.

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