All are welcome at our springs—the infirm, the crippled, even the mentally damaged come here in hopes that the sulfurous, almost-too-hot water will heal their bodies, their souls. When the man arrived at the same time as a busload of seniors from Rapid City, it didn’t occur to us that he wasn’t actually with them. Suddenly he was just there, in a corner of the big pool we let the pilgrims use, and we noticed that he was still there after the Rapid City oldsters left. He somehow got in the pool before anyone saw him and stayed all day. No one ever saw him leave, and if one of us went looking for him to suggest he might give the spring a rest from time to time, that it wasn’t really healthy to be in the water nonstop, he couldn’t be found. But later, there he’d be, right where we’d seen him before.
It was around this time that we noticed that he was turning green, that he was mossing over. Because we are a tolerant people, we left him to his soak. Still, we could not help but discuss the strangeness of the Moss-Man.
But then Sally Jenkins, bless her heart, found him floating face down in the small pool, the one where we go to avoid the misery and mis- fortune of the pilgrims. She found him slowly turning in the bubbling water, his moss-covered back rising like a verdant island, and our tolerance came to an end.