That moment when it's about to rain and the gray sky brightens, the air fairly vibrates, and distant sounds seem to get closer— that's what four o'clock in the afternoon was like, but the rain failed to come and the light faded, and the sky's gray brooded above a dim forest that was slowly swallowed by dusk and night. I'm still waiting to hear the first raindrops.
Five straight days of rain have been predicted, and perhaps there'll be more after that. A soggy January could presage an abundant spring. The mountains across the river could be swathed in flowers come May, now that the trees are gone— though pine seedlings that will eventually restore the burned forest will be popping up as well.