I knew we could rest there, before we decided which way to move, maybe south and east, like the Book of Changes had advised, to the horse ranch outside Las Cruces, New Mexico.

I told Emma I’d worked for the Carlsons before, as a farrier for a year and they’d treated me well, like family, after I’d left for good my father’s ranch in Grass Valley. They’d said I could work for them anytime, that they’d keep the cottage vacant.

The small white house with yellow roses came with a ration of beef and a fair monthly salary. It stood off a drive lined with poplar trees, just north of the white-fenced pasture of beautiful, prize-winning, blue Appaloosas — like blue shadows dappled with sun through leaves.

“I know horses,” Emma said. “I can help you.”

All this happened later, though maybe it was already set out, when I’d crossed the sad street in Ingot and the raven called overhead. I thought it tried to say “Nevermore,” as I pushed at the swinging door where my white face and then the awful faces of the violent men and the Sleeping Child monster appeared for an instant in the porthole.

“Hello,” the bartender said as I entered the Silverado Bar. “Kind of cold.”

“It is,” I said. “I think it’s going to snow.”

“No,” said the pretty Indian woman at the bar. “Not till tomorrow.”

“I hope you’re right,” the bartender said. “I’ve got to haul some wood this afternoon.”

“Where are you going?” the woman asked, turning to me, but before I could answer she said, “Sleeping Child Lake?”

The next morning in the pickup Emma asked the same question and I said, “Oregon, then New Mexico,” again smelling the roses at the bedroom’s window screen as I told her about the horse ranch.

When I wake and watch Emma sleeping, the white pendant between her breasts, I remember how we came to live by the poplars and yellow roses and the blue Appaloosas, Ginger and Sandman and the rest of the large remuda, whose hooves I clip and file and carefully fitwith new shoes so they won’t stumble, crack a hoof, or go lame.

The Carlsons gave us each a horse to ride and, on warm Sundays, Emma and I take them up to a lake called “Blue Lake,” where we catch rainbow trout, have lunch, and make slow love on a blanket under an oak tree whose strong branches never crack and fall.

Before I close my eyes by the water or in our house at the end of the day, I remember the antler Sleeping Child and his green lake, where one day his basket will rise and a woman without a husband or child will find him and take him home.

That’s what Mrs. Blackdeer told me, the same story Emma knew, that for a while she thought must be her own story.

Maybe in a way it is yours and Emma’s and mine, Joyce’s and Tug’s and the Carlsons’. You don’t have to be Indian to want the world to improve, to feel bad about the way it is now.

I’ll repeat the prayer that I’ve already told you, that I learned at the reservation and spoke aloud before I went to Sleeping Child Lake, the one Emma has said for years and always whispers each night when we go to bed:

“Sleep deeply until you wake, when both worlds become one.”

It can’t hurt. If you want, you can whisper it, too. Maybe it’s already been dreamed that you will.