And the man raises a horn to his lips and blowshe fixes a proud neck and forehead toward the empty sky and the empty landand blows one last wonder-cry.
And as the shuttling automatic memory of man clicks off its results willy-nilly and inevitable as the snick of a mouse-trap or the trajectory of a 42-centimeter projectile,
I flash to the form of a man to his hips in snow drifts of Manitoba and Minnesotain the sled derby run from Winnipeg to Minneapolis.
He is beaten in the race the first day out of Winnipegthe lead dog is eaten by four team matesand the man goes on and onrunning while the other racers riderunning while the other racers sleep
Lost in a blizzard twenty-four hours, repeating a circle of travel hour after hourfighting the dogs who dig holes in the snow and whimper for sleeppushing onrunning and walking five hundred miles to the end of the racealmost a winnerone toe frozen, feet blistered and frost-bitten.
And I know why a thousand young men of the Northwest meet him in the finishing miles and yell cheersI know why judges of the race call him a winner and give him a special prize even though he is a loser.
I know he kept under his shirt and around his thudding heart amid the blizzards of five hundred miles that one last wonder-cry of Childe Rolandand I told the six-year-old girl all about it.
And while the January wind was ripping at the shingles and whistling a wolf song under the eaves, her eyes had the haze of autumn hills and it was beautiful to her and she could not understand.