Mack Williams: Recent two-day wind
Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 16, 2017
Recently, the weatherman predicted a great wind (or maybe a lot of small, strong breezes bound together, achieving critical mass) lasting for two days.
The flashes of lightning and sound of thunder in the wee hours signified the door being opened so the great wind could make its entrance upon the local topographical stage. Unlike Beethoven’s Sixth, where the storm comes later, a storm began this “wind symphony.”
When I awoke around 8:45 a.m. (didn’t have to work that day) the yellowy-orange hazard bar on weather.com said the “windy deluge” would begin at 8 a.m.; but the only thing I heard from the outside was the sound of stillness (silence). I guessed the wind was running late, perhaps having temporarily lost its footing on the Appalachian Mountains.
The morning-lit leaves were still, but soon, still “dew-wet,” they seemed to start a reflective twinkling, as just the slightest of breezes was turning them back and forth a few degrees, repeatedly angling them the way a soldier “flexes” a small hand-held mirror to send furtive signals.
Then, large pine boughs started violently swaying up and down, reminding me of some giant ,green, hairy muppets. With the most gargantuan of muppets, their exterior articulating sticks can be seen, while the pine boughs’ “sticks” are a needle-covered skeleton.
This first great wind gust was like the attack led by an army’s initial “shock troops.”
In the city,the courses of streets with their surrounding buildings became like hollow pan pipes “wind-played.” When a curve in the street resulted in putting a building in the wind’s path, the effect of a musical rest was achieved.
The great wind toyed with the distant sound of a railroad diesel engine’s air horn (another “wind”), alternately muffling and magnifying it.
The clouds were parallely lined up and broken, with blue between. The wind seemed to pile them together into a dark gray mass now and then, but before anything could be precipitated from that wind-forced union, the same wind would tear them apart. This happened many times, making it evident that with such wind, clouds couldn’t “clot” for long.
A few boughs came down locally, reminding me of a guitar smashed into smithereens at the end of some heavy metal rock concert (the bough, a “sound instrument” of the wind).
I thought of the oft-said “If this had been snow instead of rain,just think of how much it would have been.” My variation: “If this had been a windy snow, think of the enormity of its drifts.”
In my Old Concord Road childhood, the steady “tramp, tramp, tramp” of clouds from the western horizon, up-and-over W.A Cline’s back-pasture trees, then across the sky to the woods behind my house and the eastern horizon always made me think of time’s progression from present to future ( never to the past,since those clouds couldn’t be rewound). But here in the evening of this recent wind’s second day, it finally struck me that the clouds looked more like they were going from north to south, just side-to-side in front of me, instead of up-and-over.
Seeing this as a child, I might have imagined it as a pause in time, a short, brief halt in my growing up. Seeing it now, I imagine it as a brief pause in my becoming “more senior.”