Mack Williams column: Seasonal blur, then a sign

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 23, 2020

By Mack Williams
For the Salisbury Post
There’s always a difference between spring and summer, but 2020 seems like the summer without a spring, following a winter without snow. This year seems like a strange, impressionistic blurring of Monet flowers into summer greenery.
During the general malaise (or miasma) of a pandemic, my daily walk seems to be the highlight, the noon of the day, even when taken in the evening; for as Noel Coward said, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.”
Due to the pandemic, some people have become, to one degree or another, like the shut-ins mentioned in the church bulletins. Sometimes, we have returned to being like newborn babes, getting our days and nights mixed up. I’ll sometimes awaken in the middle of the night, then watch history documentaries, good old movies, and some bad (horrible) old movies made enjoyable by Mike and his staff of robots on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). But part of this is being a retired old man (excuse me, senior).
After going back to sleep, and awakening mid to late morning, I revert back to ancient times by looking out the window and using the tree-cast shadows to tell the approximate time, before putting on my glasses and looking at my watch. On a cloudy day, only glasses and watch will tell time.
During my walk, I did recently notice some change, in that those weeds, which we as kids used to curl their long stems around their flowery, conical tips to “shoot” at each other, have all turned brown and dead, like some old unspent, rusted World War II ammo found by some metal-detecting YouTuber. I wonder if children still do like we did; but perhaps nowadays, kids don’t play with plants.
But despite all of this viral, seasonal blurring, I saw a more striking sign (besides that of the calendar) that the seasons and time were continuing their eternal plodding. It came in the form of a single yellow-turned maple leaf, lying in sharp contrast to the dark asphalt of the park walking trail.
The small action of that autumnal-color leaf falling to the ground was a hint of the even greater colossal action going on in the ground under our feet (no, not the recent quake).
While that featherweight leaf gently wafted its way to the ground, that same ground weighing 5.9 sextillion metric tons (the Earth) was in the earliest, gradual stages towards the beginning of its annual, autumnal, northern hemispheric nod away from the sun.

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