“Looks like rain,” Emma’s Grandma Frances said, looking up.
Emma squinted up at the vast blue sky, then at her grandmother. “Where?” she asked.
“On its way.” Grandma Frances nodded. “Let’s you and I find a place to wait it out.”
“A place to hide?” Emma asked, excited by the idea of a new game. Grandma Frances liked games as much as she did.
“No dear, not to hide, just to stay dry. Rain’s nothing to be scared of.”
“I know that, Grandma,” Emma said.
Grandma Frances quickened her pace, her knobby walking sticks tapping against the earth. She was heading for a copse of trees across the field.
Emma jogged to keep up, but then stopped, staring as black and grey clouds rolled in from the horizon. The air turned chilly, like she’d left the freezer door open on the refrigerator.
“Come along, Emma,” Grandma Frances stopped to wait under the umbrella of tree while Emma ran the rest of the way to join her.
Big, cool drops of rain plopped against Emma’s head before she too, tucked herself under the protective branches. She laughed. “How did you know?”
Grandma Frances smiled out at the rain, then at her granddaughter. “That’s easy, dear. Listen.” She closed her eyes, breathed in and tilted her head up slightly, as if trying to catch a scent.
Emma followed her grandmother’s example, and soon the leaves rustling changed into something different. Whispered voices. The trees were speaking. Her eyes shot open. She jumped up and down, holding her grandmother’s arm. “I heard voices!”
Grandma Frances beamed. “Can you tell what they’re saying?”
“That it’s raining?” Emma guessed.
“You’ll learn to understand,” Grandma Frances nodded.
“But what’re they saying?”
“Right now they’re saying that we’re welcome to stay here as long as we’d like.”
Emma took her grandmother’s hand and smiled. “I’m going to know how to understand them someday,” she said.
Grandma Frances squeezed Emma’s hand. “Of that I have no doubt,” she said.