Mack Williams: Mist-to-clear
The day began with a gray and steady morning mist (different from the detective story’s “Dark and stormy night”).
The mist kind of added substance to the gray morning light, making it seem not as “light” as it would otherwise have seemed.
Some blue crept into the gray, what could best be described as “Blue Ridge blue,” resembling the “horizon-blue” color of my World War I repro French “Adrian” helmet (my hats and helmets make for a separate article).
I imagine soldiers at horizon distance wearing such helmets and being camouflaged in a blue-gray “fog” (in an “in memoriam” aside, one hundred years ago it was 1917, and The Great War still had a year left to go).
Those Autumn leaves which had achieved a fire-like “blaze” in the intensity of their color seemed to darken in the misty “dousing;” but just as with rocks and minerals, wetness has a slight darkening effect.
A local (Danville) grouping of three abandoned Dan River Mills smoke stacks known as the “Three sisters” had their tip-tops overlaid with fog and misty rain to the point of invisibility. I imagined a time when those stacks “breathed” (but only in one-way exhalation).
I also imagined a time in their “textile-past” when the smoke from those stacks seemed to spread out over the city, as if in a granting of mill-related jobs to the populace below (this bit of analogy, perhaps “non PC” and “non EPA,” but so be it).
I tried to remind myself that each “rain-mist-fog” has its own “fingerprint,” just as I have seen with individual snowfalls, but “liquidity” seems to make them flow from one into the other in an osmotic “sameness.”
Like the old mill’s smokestacks, the top-most part of the spire of a prominent church was lost in mist. I suddenly had the idea that somewhere on “Heaven’s ground” (a paradox), a caution sign is placed nearby where that churchly “spike” erupts, so no saintly passersby trip over it, or even worse, trips to impalement (but since there is no hurt in Heaven, caution can be thrown to the wind).
To and from my car, the mist coated my face, and I strangely wondered if to some onlooker, my facial features had run all together and “blurred,” as in some horror-fantasy tale from the Outer Limits or Twilight Zone. What if my face had become like the one William Shatner’s character saw when he looked out from the window during his plane trip?
But wiping my “misted” face off in my car’s rear view mirror, I saw eyes, ears, nose, and mouth still confined to their proper borders, no running together, no “monstrosity.”
And while I sat there, the day finally was granted a more proper beginning, as my eye-lids “blinked” my eyes clear, the wipers “blinked” the glass clean, and the brightening sun “blinked” the mist away.
By Paul Birkhead Rowan Public Library In this season of giving thanks, I would like to add some of the... read more