All afternoon the crowding clouds shaded the forest and chilled the air, but not a drop of rain fell. The blooming flowers and budding trees quivered as cold breezes swept them, and gray smoke rose from chimneys as shivering townsfolk lit their wood stoves and fireplaces. Darkness has fallen, and still no rain has come to wash the smoke from the air. The moon is utterly concealed, not even a hint of its light penetrating the dense but vaporous mass that fills the night sky. I wish, I wish the rain would come. The expectant quiet begins to strain my ears.