It was the middle of July. A cold front moved from the mountains and clouds settled over the orchards in the valley. Rain fell intermittently. Clark pulled his thin jacket tighter. “We should be picking the peaches now. I’m losing money each day the crew sits idle.”
His friend nodded miserably and added, “This is not the first strange thing to happen. Remember when the sky opened up and pulled Oscar away? We all saw it. No one wants to talk about it. They don’t even want to look up, afraid to get caught in the limitless abyss that opens if it catches you staring. There is something different about this rain, too. It seems dull and lifeless, and yet, it’s waiting for something.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Clark said in a hushed voice. “It can hear you.”
“How can rain or the sky hear me? Put a halt to such nonsense. All of you are crazy.”
Clark stiffened. “It usually happens on a bitterish day like today. Someone sees it in a daydream and it comes to life.”
“That’s where you differ with me. My reasoning is based on logic. Yours is based on dreams and on perceptions. If it can’t hear or see or breathe, it isn’t alive.”
Rain was falling again, intensely, tugging at Clark’s coat and hat. The rain softened and Clark felt it patting his head and back. Now it seemed to dance with joy. The clouds pulled back, opening up the vast limitless darkness. Starlight splashed over him, filling him with energy and hope. He raised his head and shouted out, “People! Our orchards will be blessed. A non-believer has been washed from our sight. I had to turn him in for the betterment of mankind. Now we are at peace with the universe. Love, Live, Enjoy, and Appreciate everything like there’s no tomorrow. Feel the rhythm of the universe. Our world is back to normal.”
Clark dared to glance up. A small blue-green planet rotated slowly around a star. “Someday,” Clark thought, “I’d like to visit that planet. I bet it’s different than ours.” He laughed at his own little joke. How could things be different somewhere else? He walked inside and hung up his coat and placed his two hats side by side, just as he always did.