|Turtle Crick below Otter's merestead|
I was tired. It had been a long, demanding day. The shooting of a man took its toll on any caring, feeling human being, and I considered myself to be of a sympathetic nature. I picketed the horses on opposite sides of camp to double the chances of detecting unwelcome visitors. Patch was trained to give warning of predators. The mare was a shadow jumper.
I settled on the coarse blankets of my bedroll and breathed a silent song to the Great Mystery. The spread of the heavens—shot through with glittering stars, both noble and mean—made a vast dome of the black sky. I studied the Seven Persons, which Billy had called the Big Dipper. A faint breeze cooled my face and carried the comforting rustle of swaying boughs gently to my ear. The heavy fragrance of pines on the hummock—so different from the scant perfume of cottonwoods along the crick bank—laid the sharp taste of resin on my tongue, or so it seemed. I stilled my doubts, calmed my breathing, and closed my eyes to slip away into sleep.
Short, sweet, and seems to do the job doesn't it. A pastoral scene, it lets the reader down easy, yet the "shooting of a man" and picketing the horses on opposite sides of the camp "to double the chances of detecting unwelcome visitors" remind us of the dangers that lurk all about. I like it.