Inside This Diorama, 1

Beauty is. We are driving back from my daughter’s birthday dinner at the Chop House on the far side of town. The roads are slick with iced dew from falling snow. On the way there, each of us chose a separate route from my house where we had played games and eaten Better Than Sex Anything cake. Dessert before dinner: Yes! My son had picked the highway across the Rims, my ex-husband had taken the river route and my daughter picked the road with the only overpass in town. And now, she’s taking me back to my house, over the sandstone cliffs, up through the creek valley and along the hills where she had once buried a time capsule she’d not recover for another five years.

Just as we cross the creek bridge, her boyfriend points out this is where he usually sees the deer. We slow down, flash our lights: no deer. We continue. Beauty is: when something happens at the right time. When we reach the corner with the Ponderosa pine, we slow down again because this is where my daughter usually sees the deer. We squint in the dark cab of her truck, peering between the trees. Bedded down under the trees, two does stare back at us. We pause, my daughter grins. We continue.

About the author

Sherry O’Keefe, a descendant of one of the first Montana pioneers, a mother of two, grandmother to almost four, credits/blames her Irish upbringing for…

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Issue 24 · September 2021

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