The Fable of the Boy and the Fog
Little Bobby Blank rounded the corner and strolled down the walkway between two elementary school buildings. It was early on a very cold morning, and he was the only one around. The classrooms were closed. The night-lights still flickered in the dawn, casting its incandescent glow for the first few minutes of the new day. The sky was relatively clear, yet the path he took to school was misted by incandescent beads of morning dew. Still, Bobby was on the search for somebody – a friend or his first grade teacher. Thus, he headed down the only path he knew; it was the one that led him to the playground.
The playground was vast and nestled below the knoll upon which the school was built on. It had a field of freshly cut green grass and a blacktop with tetherball, handball, and basketball courts. If there was anyone at the school, they’d surely be there on the playground. However, when Bobby reached the end of the walkway, he was met with something else.
The boy saw ground fog spreading across an open field. It rolled and swirled, slowly blanketing the lush green lawn. Fog was not an uncommon site; it usually rolled over the nearby hills and swallowed everything in its path. This beast – the fog from the hill – was a gentle one. But, it was also an elusive one. It always seemed out of reach. This beast on the playground, however, was low to the ground, waiting for someone, anyone, to venture to its domain.
Bobby stood on top of the ramp, transfixed by this spectacle until an impish thought followed by an impish smile crossed his face. He realized he found a play-partner. So, with no further ado, he ran toward the white mist.
But, the fog didn’t want to have anything to do with him. It started to move away. The farther in he went, the further the fog rolled away from him. Although mystified by this, he kept chasing it until he was in the middle of the field.
Still, the fog moved away. He stopped, exasperated and frustrated.
“Why do you keep moving away?” he pleaded.
The fog’s response was to swirl lightly away from him.
The boy was undeterred. He wanted to capture the fog and play with it. He lunged for it. It floated away, parting before his flailing arms. He leaped, trying to tackle it, only to fall to the wet ground, empty-handed. When he looked up, he spotted the swirling white mist slowly retreats from him.
The boy got to his feet, and jumped from one direction to another. He discovered that the fog was not retreating from him; it was circling him! He twirled around, seeing the white wall pulling back until there were several feet of clearing between him and the fog.
In the distance he heard voices carrying through the white walls. The kids were starting to arrive.
I’m in the fog, the boy thought to himself, yet I didn’t feel it or realize that it was around me. He was in the fog, like he wanted, but he wasn’t able to enjoy this small victory.
In the distance he heard voices carrying through the white walls. The kids were starting to arrive. In a moment, he saw Candice, Joey and Jeremy, Sinjay, Abdul and Pedro, emerging from the fog. All of them, his classmates, were chasing the fog, much as he did. They laughed, screamed and pleaded with themselves and with the fog. They made all kinds of childish noises as they scampered passed Bobby, pursing that elusive gray mist.
He wanted to say something to them. But as quick as they arrived, they vanished into the fog.
Then again, he wasn’t sure he could say anything to them. They were blind to the adventure of capturing that fog. They’ll have to learn on their own, he realized.
He stood in the fog’s shroud. The disappointment he felt he couldn’t a moment ago, vaporized. He was at ease with himself, and he stood there, marveling at the mist. It was before him, even if he couldn’t capture it. And that was okay with him.
The voices of more children could be heard. In a moment, they would be coming through the fog. Maybe they’ll be his friends or one of the many kids on campus. It didn’t matter. He knew they were there. And his need for companionship on that day was met. And, thus, that was how the boy learned that sometimes, you can touch something without even knowing it.
© 2014 Dean Traylor