The Soupster hears strange murmurs.
“There!” Mike pointed out the tiny purple star of a fireweed blossom, opening high on the stalk. “When the blossoms reach the top, summer is ending.” The Soupster regarded his friend bending over the plant, growing alongside the totem path.
“The raindrops have been getting bigger lately,” he said in agreement. “And starting to angle sideways, a little. Season’s a-changing, Mike.”
The two men walked on in silence. The soft forest floor muffled the sound of their steps and they passed by the totem poles without waking them.
“Do you miss having four distinct seasons?” the Soupster asked his friend, who hailed originally from Back East. “Real hot weather and real cold weather?”
“I don’t.” Mike answered. “I like Our Town’s three seasons better. Three seasons: light all the time, dark all the time and exactly half and half.”
“And exactly half and half occurs twice a year, right? Between dark all the time and light all the time.”
“You got it, Soupster,” Mike said.
They were quiet again. All around the two men, still dripping from that morning’s rain, much of the vegetation was deep in cogitation – probably chemically – laboring to decide whether it was time to start switching over to “dormant” or whether they could wrest a little more benefit out of this summer.The Soupster thought he could hear them murmuring
“You hear that?” he asked Mike.
“Hear what?” Mike said.
Then they both heard it, on the breeze, sounding like: “esaelp dens…”
“I hear it,” said Mike and the two men looked around them.
The next breeze brought the murmur again: “esaelp dens su nair, dens su nair.”
Mike and the Soupster quickened their pace. In an open area around the next turn a lone man stood looking at the sky and saying “Esaelp dens su nair, dens su nair. Stol fo nair!”
The man realized he was bring watched.
“May I respectfully ask what you are doing?” said the Soupster.
“My sister is getting married on the 23rd and she’s terrified it’s going to rain and ruin everything. I promised her I’d do what I could to keep it from raining that day.”
“OK, but in what language were you asking for it not to rain?” asked Mike, stepping forward.
“English,” said the man. “And I was asking for it to rain, not not rain.”
“I thought your sister didn’t want it to rain?” asked the Soupster.
“Oh, I’m asking for rain backward,” said the man. “I thought if I asked for rain backward…”
“Then it wouldn’t rain!” said Mike.
“I don’t know how well your plan is going to work,” said the Soupster, with a sympathetic tone. “Maybe you could do something else also. Like a Plan B?”
“Last week, I tried doing a rain dance backward,” said the man. “But I hurt my leg.”
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