When I was in college in Atlanta I used to go to coffee shops to study. They afforded me just the right balance of quiet and activity to focus, and the access to caffeine certainly kept me going. One particular shop, in the Virginia Highlands, had a beverage called the fog lifter, that I remember vividly -- it consisted of coffee, espresso, steamed milk, and caramel syrup showcased in a clear Irish coffee style mug. I went to this particular shop when I was going through a very solitary period in my life, and getting out 'in public' kept me plodding along. I can still taste the way the sweetness of the caramel mingled with the bitter espresso on the back of my tongue, the astringent after taste, pages upon pages of notes on English Lit before 1660 sprawled out in front of me. Sunlight, a constant in Atlanta, streamed through the windows calming me to the extent possible in those days.
This memory came back to me so vividly because I feel I am at a fog lifting juncture. My solitary pursuit has changed from literature study to running -- but the rough feelings are the same. Last night, running a 5-mile loop, solo, in the sun, amongst people but not with them I realized how fortifying this can be, time in my own head doing something I love. In all the sweetness and bitterness of the past months, I feel the fog beginning to lift, a new optimism taking hold.