The Soupster hoped the drizzling rain would keep the tourists downtown in the stores of Our Town and not out walking in the Park. The Soupster likes the Park better when it’s quiet. But understands that, for many tourists, this is the one day in their life they can visit The Park of Our Town.
Near the entrance to the walking trails, the Soupster noticed a familiar face, Lizzy, a local nature writer and naturalist.
“What’s all this, Lizzy?” the Soupster asked, walking up to the park bench where Lizzy was sorting large laminated cards.
“Field guides for my students,” Lizzy said, barely looking up from her stacks of cards. “I’m meeting a group of naturalist students here for a walk through The Park. These are field guides to help them identify what-all they see.”
“Good thing they’re laminated,” the Soupster chuckled as he picked up a stack of cards and wiped rain drops off with his sleeve. “Let’s see what you have here, Birds of Alaska, A Field Guide of Southeast Alaska Trees, and one on Flora of the Northwest. Well it looks like you’ve got everything covered.”
“Just about, I want my students to be prepared,” Lizzy said as she added one more card to each of her stacks.
“Would you look at this,“ the Soupster said. “It’s a field guide to clouds and what weather they bring.”
Lizzy laughed, wiping rain off the sleeves of her jacket. “We don’t really need that one. Today, like most days this time of year, we have mostly nimbostratus clouds.”
The Soupster looked at the sky and then the card. “’Nimbostratus: low lying clouds that produce near constant moderate or light rain.’ That’s Our Town.”
Lizzy and the Soupster watched a group of tourists hurry from the Park Visitor’s Center to the canopy of the forest. Another bus load of tourists pulled up to The Park and tourists were scurrying to get out of the showers.
A few locals of Our Town gathered near a totem pole, talking, laughing, oblivious to the rain.
“Those must be your students,” the Soupster said pointing to the small group. “I guess you don’t need a field guide to tell the tourists from the locals.”
Lizzy laughed. “That’s an interesting concept – a field guide of people. Let’s see — the tourists would be identified by their clothing. Impractical footwear, rain ponchos that look like trash bags, umbrellas, and the females carry canvas bags with cruise ship logos. As for their behavior, they are always in a hurry and don’t tolerate rain.”
“And what about the locals?” asked the Soupster.
“That’s easy,” replied Lizzy, looking over at the group of students, “Xtratuf boots, Carhartts, layers of fleece vest and jackets, and no umbrellas.”
“And what about identifiable behavior?”
Lizzy thought for a minute, “Friendly, easy going, and tolerates rain well.”
“That’s Our Town,” said the Soupster as he entered the Park, happy to enjoy the company of the birds, flora and tourists.
– Submitted by Ann Wilkinson