Mixed Feelings about Mist

An unpublished poem


Naukuchiyatal. Mist dweller

I have mixed feelings about mist.

Because it obscures. Two weeks ago,
It prevented me from seeing the Trishul and Nanda Devi peaks from Mukteshwar
It prevented me from reading while settled in a boat in the middle of Naukuchiyatal lake.
It annoyed me. On these occasions, mist just…squats.

But even when I know what it’s obscuring
Even when it’s something I see everyday
The mist brings a tinge of mystique
That makes me crave the sight I can no longer see.
It intrigues me. On these occasions, mist swirls.

And it also reminds me of when
We first reached that village on Kilimanjaro
That was to be our home for the next 2 weeks
And a pair of Tanzanian women in psychedelic kangas
Carrying clumps of bananas on their heads
Ambled past us, into the mist.
And my Italian fellow volunteer turned to me and said
In an allusion to a movie set not too far away,
“Mujeras en la lluvia”
(Women in the mist)
It bemused me. On these occasions, mist engulfs.

And a week later, when we were halfway up Kilimanjaro,
And we sat down by Maundi crater
And munched chocolate,
Hoping to get a view of the peak.
The mist swirled in, filling the crater basin, whispering to us.
It calmed me. On these occasions, mist settles.

Annoyance, and it squats.
Intrigue, and it swirls.
Bemusement, and it engulfs.
Calm, and it settles.

Mixed feelings about mist.


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