Songs are sung, poems are spun, and books are written about cloud formations — not the physical characteristics of clouds as they pertain to weather. For instance, when high winds flatten the top of a cloud into an anvil-like shape, you probably know that the cloud is a cumulonimbus: a thunderhead associated with heavy rain, snow, hail, lightning and tornados. If you are looking at a satellite image and see a giant swirling mass with a big hole in the middle, hovering over the southeast United States, that’s Hurricane Dorian. Prose is penned about these, but more imaginations run wild with the ships, leaping cats and pouncing puppies that your mind constructs from the marshmallow white clouds above outfields and lawn chairs. Are you with me? Now. Imagine a cast of characters at your feet.

Road surfacing changes all the time. Back when all-weather tracks were a new-fangled thing, at least one Putnam County township resurfaced a main drag in something that made my feet react with the same Oo! and Ah! as they did running at a Putnam County League track meet. But times change and the highways with them. The latest fashion in backroads is a rough paving surface made from liquid asphalt and stone. While this “tar and chip” method isn’t conducive to roller-blading, shoe and tire treads don’t slip easily on the stuff. Anyhow, roller-blading is SO last-decade (maybe two).

When cracks appear in the new nubby roads, the first line of defense is to dribble black goo along the cracks. Just as a puffy ethereal giraffe was floating over our Labor Day picnic, an apple-cheeked lady with wild curly hair, and Bob Hope were etched in rivulets of tar along our after-meal stroll.

The characters extend beyond humankind. A humpback whale breaches rolling waves on the edge of Road M-7. The backdrop of the cetacean’s world is gunmetal gray. But on the day that I saw the scene, a brilliant Monarch butterfly landed on the whale’s fluke, pinpointing brilliance in a dark foreboding sea and sky.