“The winds’ doing,” he thought, treading around the wreckage of foliage, scratchy leafage and switches and barbed acorns. “These last winter gusts have swept through surprisingly strong this season. You know, I almost don’t remember last summer entertaining so many toppling breezes as these weeks.”
Psoriatic shark-skin over the trunk scathed the pads of his hand tracing. He fed light into joint of injury, running his fingers along the inner fibers. It was more of a twist than a collapse, the idle twisting of a twig until its split fibers coiled, idle twisting that he had committed any number of times, here conducted on a monolithic scale.
The tic to pick up a twig and conduct the act of twisting came over him. The hundred-year-old scale of this incident, say two-hundred-year-old scale of this debauched live oak made his hands clench wanting the clutch and debauch of a twig. Ants made nocturnal pheromonal ventures over the psoriatic shark-skin, socially ignorant to the mangled condition of their host.
The crisp synthetic collar of his waterproof took a swipe at his chin as a fleet white registered in his peripheral vision: rightward: within the mature growth.
He took some gravelly paces that way, grounding his sensibilities on the manmade grind against his soles. The conspiratorial latticework of scrub palms deprived him any shunt of vision and the frail light spent itself shallowly filtering fibrous ribbons. Every conceivable sneak of a look had to deal with some stitch of suspended growth.
Knowing snakes don’t snap on winter nights, he plunged scratchily, passing palms. The twangy quails of palm catapults mixed with detritus rustling. The loose dry leaves made a skating surface which seemed biased, lowering into the growth. The suspicion of his balance was proven: his light discovered the way gave to banking down.
Tarp nudges across his chin was his slicker’s way of siding with stopping and turning back. He shined the light close into his chest. The highlighter yellow was a bib against being dunked in darkness.
He cast a farewell surmise down the growth giving way, where the condition for staying was provided a pro that blotted out all the cons: a mess of debris, parcels, or . . . a williwaw took him by shivering surprise and the shuffling detritus avalanched him. Skirting tractionless past scratchy prickly branches, none fleshed out a sufficient hold and he went barreling.