When I climbed the stairs out of the subway this morning and began heading west to my studio, fog completely obscured the Manhattan skyline. I’m no stranger to fog, whether metaphorical or actual. In northern California where I grew up, fog was a constant. Each morning the fog would cover the mountains near our house, but by 11:00AM it would have lifted. I feel a certain nostalgia for fog. As I walked the four blocks to my studio this morning I thought about how, when we can’t see something we often assume it isn’t there or what we assume is there, actually isn’t. Had I not known fog was covering an entire thriving metropolis called Manhattan, I would not have been able to imagine it. That’s the beauty of fog, it usually lifts and when it does, it often reveals surprising things.
This has been my experience with my daughter and autism. Autism was, for a great many years, like the fog, obscuring the child within. I kept trying to lift the fog, thinking that if I could do so, I would “find” my daughter. Then I began to realize the “fog” was my thinking. The way I thought about autism was obscuring my daughter. My daughter has always been there, just like Manhattan is and when the fog lifts I can see her in all her magnificent glory.
Emma – 2004