They first discovered it in the sunset, a wash of sudden red that also terrified them—had something happened
in the west? Was this the end? And then darkness. But the beauty of the stars, the moon like an open
mouth in the sky, made them realize that beauty and terror would travel together. The shiver of the screech
owl in the night: beautiful and terrible. The dove’s mournful wail at dawn. There would be no end. Then
snow that made the world beautiful and desolate. Shimmering, hard. The hawk beautiful in its plunder-fall
on the prairie; the fox flashing its red and black as it pounced on the mouse, snapping it beautifully up. Even
the bear lumbering after pronghorns–beautiful, he was, the way he tore beauty apart, pushing his face down
into the beautiful flesh. And then they looked at each other. Was this beauty, too, these odd creatures
hunkering and wandering, killing and cooking, rooting out food by the riverbanks?