It would be a fruitless chase, he thought, uncertain what that meant. He thought of arms full of grapes and a woman he once met in these very mountains. She spent her life gathering dried grape vines and desiccated, decorative berries (he liked those words in sequence, like berries themselves), weaving the berries like beads into wreaths. In his office he still had the small woven cross she had given him as a keepsake ("soaked in rue," she said, though he knew--he had studied botany and still thought it a hobby-- rue wasn't native). The cross was a fetish object, holy and frightening both, and the Haitian woman who cleaned the office suite wouldn't touch it. (He asked her would it hurt him, was it voodoo and she laughed. "Oh no sir, such a ting hurt only she who it don't belong. For he whose it is, it watch over with them eye..." She gestured at a distance toward the wrinkled blue beads stitched into the arms of the transept.)

Beth slept. He would wake her when they entered the spine of the mountains below DC. For now she slept, folded hands under an ear like a dozing angel, her eyes moving dreamwise under her soft lids. He loved his daughter and had unreasonably high hopes she could soften Stanko into releasing the photo of her ancestors. They eased into the blue mountains, and he mouthed the words like a mantra:

For he whose it is, it watch over with them eye.