Hanson Page 14
    "Forget something?" Beulah asked.
    I had worn my gun all through dinner. It had been a long, unpredictable day.
    "Just be a minute," I said.
    I went into the bedroom and took off the holster and placed it in the top bureau drawer.
    I came back into the living room and Beulah was out front, waiting beyond the open door.
    I held out my hand. We started across the bed of dry needles through the last slanting shafts of yellow light broken by pine boughs.
    We stepped through the arch of aspen to stand on the bank.
    The sky shone rose and yellow behind the western mountains. The leaves were growing dark, the parchment trunks whiter now, the moving water changing from gold to a cool silver. Below the surface the white statue shone like blue marble.

    "I love Montana," Beulah said.
    At our feet lay the fresh, sharp night scent of ferns. Above our heads the aspen leaves rattled. Crickets called

across the river. A mourning dove cooed.
    "'Already with thee,'" Beulah said. "'Tender is the night.'"
    "'But here there is no light--'"
    "'Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown--'"

    "'Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.'"
    "I love that, Phil." Her loose hair drifted across her mouth, and she touched the dark strands with her hand. Her face was lifted in the afterlight.
    "Is this real?" Her voice was low.
    "I think so," I said. "It feels like a dream but I think it's real."
    "Hold me close," Beulah said.
    I took a step and kissed her mouth. Her hair smelled fresh as sun and I held her against me, then moved my lips