Category Archives: imagination

In Praise of Fog

One thing I love about mountains, and the views from their slopes and summits, is the distance that sparks the imagination.  William Hazlitt said most of it in his essay ‘Why Distant Objects Please’.  I can populate those distant places, a ship out at sea, a far off hill, with whatever I like.  Get closer, and the reality is less alluring.  I feel the same way about most things, about characters or places in books and films, or melodies in music.  I’d prefer them to remain indistinct. I like murk and fog, I like the swirl of mist, and slippery uncertainties.  Even in everyday exchanges, I prefer things left unfinished.  Too much detail is like a lamp that’s far too bright.  There are exceptions, of course, like following instructions for installing a new printer, but even then, I tend to sort those things out by fumbling, trial and error, and by throwing stuff across the room and so on.

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