“We’d leave the others and find a night like this, whatever we had to give, and no matter how far, to be so happy again.”

Boyd Norton, Hills and forest of northern Cheyenne Indian reservation… (Billings, Montana) (1973)

We were alone one night on a long
road in Montana. This was in winter, a big
night, far to the stars. We had hitched,
my wife and I, and left our ride at
a crossing to go on. Tired and cold-but
brave-we trudged along. This, we said,
was our life, watched over, allowed to go
where we wanted. We said we’d come back some time
when we got rich. We’d leave the others and find
a night like this, whatever we had to give,
and no matter how far, to be so happy again.

–William Stafford, “Once in the Forties”

Won’t you meet me in Montana?
I want to see the mountains in your eyes
I’ve had all of this life I can handle
Meet me underneath that big Montana sky…

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