Mack Williams: ‘Rainbow’ walk

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 9, 2018

Mack Williams

Out on the Dan River Walk Trail again with the new hip bones, I saw some things which I hadn’t seen before, for the variety in that tree-lined river makes it resemble an “aquatic Champs-Elysses” or “aquatic Wilhelmstrasse.”
Just before reaching the old railroad foot bridge to cross the river, the paved walk’s shoulders are tree-lined. A little wood satyr butterfly seemed to accompany me until I reached the sun-streamed bridge, then stayed back. I thought that this forrest-adapted butterfly’s reason for halting wasn’t some “vampire-like” fear of the sunlight, but fear of other sunlit, but warm-blooded things which fly.
There in the river were two fresh “islands” in the form of sandbars, parallel in position and shape. I thought of the undersea volcanic spewing of the oceanic “Hawaiian Hot Spot” and tectonic plate movement which had given birth to those series of islands; but in the river below me, the fashioning agent was only the flowing “lukewarm” river water of Summer.
Stepping off the river bridge onto the walkway, I passed a woman deep in cellphone conversation about an acquaintance being recently shot dead. Just then, motorcycles involved in a funeral processed by on the highway road visible through the trees. My pastoral “footpath-idyll” had already been intruded upon by death (death contemplation also intruded upon Gustav Mahler’s pastoral walks; but there, the source was from within).
Rocks previously buried by river sand were uncovered, while not far away, rocks previously standing alone were “up to their necks” in sand again! I thought of the way a fossil shark tooth can be eroded out of an older matrix and deposited in a newer one, making it look much younger than what it really is. I think Ken Ham makes a great deal of “hoopla” about that sort of thing, but I’ve often thought there’s no reason for paleontology, evolution, and religion to not get along, since some of the first paleontologists were Anglican Vicars.
Next to the asphalt-paved walk trail, another “trail” lay just a few inches beneath the soil’s surface, poking up that soil along its length. It was a mole tunnel (making me think briefly again of “The Mole People”(1956)). Some scientists speak of parallel universes. Well, there was one running parallel to mine, another creature in its own subterranean “parallel universe.”
Way out in mid-stream (or “mid-river), I saw a large rock with three turtles sitting. Just a little bit further down the trail, was some old river signage in the form of a pictorial collage of natural phenomena to be seen. One small, faded picture was of three turtles sitting on a rock. If these were the same three turtles, unmoved, their “pause” upon that rock represented an appreciable fraction of my time of existence!
Oh well, turtles do live a long time, possibly having long-term “turtle friends” and favorite “turtle places.” Just the same, that collage picture was sort of like one of those strange, “historical Nicholas Cage” photographs (but instead, turtles). And as for hanging around in a threesome, that doesn’t usually work with people, as the “pecking order” sets in; with one person becoming the “peckee.” As for my term for those doing the pecking, I’ll leave that to your imagination (think of “employer” and “employee”).
At walk’s end, the little wood satyr butterfly seemed to be waiting for my return on the other side of the bridge (“waiting” only in my mind, for I’m sure its life isn’t “Mack-centered”). I looked up and beheld an impressive, descending, ten foot red-colored strand of web, fashioned by spider or caterpillar in a gap between the trees.
Despite the lack of rainbow-generating thunderstorms, that single color of the rainbow’s thread seemed to have been caught from “somewhere” and stretched downwards to mark the place where my afternoon walk would soon come to an end.


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