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December 5, 2020

Mack Williams column: Walking in Tropical Storm Zeta’s wake

By Mack Williams
For the Salisbury Post
I live close to the border of Piedmont Virginia and North Carolina; and over a week ago, one night had been filled with Tropical Storm Zeta’s wind and rain. The storm was preceded, as always, by a bit of “barometric havoc” within my sinuses.
On the following morning, the sun was starting to proudly show its disc again, like “The Aten” of ancient Egypt, but the wind was still so brisk that the remaining “en-twigged” leaves displayed both sides as they flapped, almost propellor-like.
My previous day’s walk was a bust because of the rain, so I now decided to take my chance despite the wind.
Shortly into my walking, I realized the brisk wind was not enough to overpower the lingering, oppressive humidity of a just-passed tropical storm’s remnants, but I walked on.
Some autumn leaves that were just at the threshold of falling before the storm had been pushed over the brink en masse by Zeta’s winds. It was like Zeta was making the decision for them.
Of those pines in the local park which needles turn yellow in the fall, their needles had been cast down by Zeta, part of the asphalt walkway now resembling a yellow asphalt (not brick) road. These needles actually provided a bit of traction for my well-worn sneaker treads.
Some fallen small branches from both deciduous and pine trees seemed to have been pushed into little piles by “nature’s leaf blower.”
A piece of dead tree limb had fallen onto the walkway. Since that walkway is also traversed by cars, it looked like it had been run over by some vehicle. Its mashed wood looked wet and pulpy, making me think back to that old beige paper provided in my youth at Granite Quarry School for our class to first learn to write. I thought back to the tiny splinters of wood still visible in that lower-grade paper.
At the close of my walk, I realized that what I had just seen scattered about was kind of like the flotsam and jetsam seen on the beach following a tropical storm, but this was flotsam and jetsam of a far inland, terrestrial nature.

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