Mack Williams: Warm weather impressions
Today’s column concerns a myriad of recent warm-weather impressions. These impressions came without warning, and some so fast that I was glad to have paper and pen handy, for when one is “at wheel,” driving past many things which inspire thought, the computer isn’t so handy (I did pull off the road to write). For want of a pen, the pencil sometimes comes into play; but if set aside for a while, those tiny “graphitic” particles spread, fade, and are lost to unintelligibility.
In darkening twilight, clumps of blackberry flowers stood out in the increasing shadow, like snow in that same light.
I thought about each flower becoming a berry, each berry crawling with at least half a dozen ants, and much worse: a chigger or two (especially if they get tired of life on their black, bumpy three-dimensional orbs and seek a “flat earth,” “skin” deep.
Just then, a cat walked through a clovered scene. It was white with the natural marking of a black line almost from head to tail. Each movement which makes up a cat’s movements became registered by the moving “dip” or “arch” of that line, like a natural, moving graph of feline motion.
The orange setting sun passed its glow to an anvil-shaped thunderhead cloud. Every now and then, a brilliant platinum-white bolt of lightning zig-zagged from cloud summit to cloud base. It’s natural to imagine things from cloud shapes,and one section of cloud actually did resemble a reptilian tail. So, going on that, and being a child of the 1950s and 60s, I imagined the lightning to be Godzilla’s hot, radioactive breath, produced in mortal, stratospheric combat with Rodan, Mothra, or “somebody.”
The “lightning-bulb” within that orange cloud also reminded me of the Himalayan Salt Lamp given me by my daughter Rachel. With the thunder being so far away as to be muffled, the anvil-shaped cloud’s glow was almost soothing as that of the lamp.
Earlier, I saw a most unusual thunderhead cloud. It had a series of cloud bands issuing forth from its flat summit. Those bands had a bit of a spiral curve, making me think this southern Virginia Piedmont storm had delusions of grandeur best be described as “Bahamian!”
Driving by the Dan River, the silhouettes of trees’ green leaves looked as black as the silhouette of a dead, barren tree partially immersed at water’s edge (except the leaves’ silhouettes looked “softer”). The poor, dead tree, though immersed in water, would never be able to use its “veins” to draw up the water of life again.
Just before reaching home, the twilight sky along the river was deepening into black. Above, and adjacent the river, shadowy forms of trees and buildings arched upwards, while the river’s more gravity-bound liquid closely hugged its horizon-bed.
And the river, being an old one, instead of a youthful tossing and turning, gently flowed through its nighttime dream.