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Mack Williams: Now, Michael

Mack Williams

Having experienced Tropical Storm Florence in Danville, I figured Tropical Storm Michael would just be more of the same. In using the phrase: “More of the same,” I’m emphasizing “same,” but when Michael arrived, it emphasized “more,” actually, “much more!”

My ears told me how much worse Michael was (at least in Danville) just a second before my eyes chimed in (the reverse of the usual, considering speed of light vs. speed of sound).

When my eyes “kicked in,” I was looking at unusually thick rain pouring off the top of a neighbor’s roof. The volume and velocity were such that it appeared as if a fast moving, thick trail of liquid smoke was coming from one corner of the roof and being blown straight down; but no chimney was required (or present) for this phenomenon!

Rain fell off of my own roof in such amounts that it seemed that every inch of the roof’s edge was like an eave-spout. I thought of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Waterfall House” built on top of a waterfall. During Michael’s downpour, I felt as if my apartment had been built under one (the radio announcer said a new record had been set for Danville: 6 inches of rain in 90 minutes).

Osage oranges had fallen from their nearby tree a few weeks ago, and I was glad they had fallen. If still aloft, the wind might have made them into missiles (or considering their shape, cannonballs). Being hit with one of those dense, warty, medieval-looking “weapons” would be like being hit by a mace detached from its chain or club and flying through the air.

Massive tree limbs swayed back and forth, like saying “nay” to the whole situation!

The great, but indecent storm was also raising leafy “skirts,” exposing bare “limbs.”

Looking down the street, I noticed a neighbor’s garage had gone missing, I said “Oh my gosh” (cleaned-up version), then remembered he had it recently demolished, its remains carted off (more organized and neater than would a tropical storm).

Vehicles slowed from usual “Indy-esque” to almost slug speed, representing the opposite of what I usually say about the necessity for stoplights at each intersecting road and even each driveway on Danville’s Westover Drive! Windshield wipers looked about as effective as “bailing buckets” in a small, sinking boat.

The wind so “tropical,” I remembered the old cartoon of a windswept weather reporter hanging on for dear life at right angle to a palm tree’s trunk in a hurricane. The trees (especially when bumping together) seemed to be holding onto each other for dear life! Scientists say plants have feelings too. Remember that 8 ft. tall, hungry one in “The Thing” (1951)?

There was an old hollow clothesline with its end lined to the wind. Any wasps living in there (as they are wont to do) would had been shot out of the other end like buckshot, an especially “stinging” buckshot.

I stood mesmerized,nose-to-glass to my sliding glass doors, when some blown leaves slapped outside, opposite my face! I jumped back, then thought: “They’re just leaves!” But maybe it was just that “personal space” thing (despite glass intervention).

With weather too rough for the neighborhood ladies to take their dogs for a walk (and other purposes), until a brief dip in wind and rain, these formerly restrained dogs might have to practice some personal “restraint” (or be scolded).

The wind’s direction, power, and constancy gave trees that “side-blown-grown” coastal shrubs look; but unlike constant see breezes, Michael wasn’t long-term chronic, only short-term acute.

Near sunset, the strangest golden light filled the sky, even all the way down to that part of the “sky” we breathe, and the street below, everything becoming “Victorian sepia.”

I saw a rainbow, but remembered that its Biblical promise only concerned the “Big Picture” (like the old Walter Cronkite TV series), not the random regional deluge.

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