Back up at The Outlet the next day the Montana sun shone wide and bright. The sheriff, game warden and a handful of local folks stood along the creek bed. A couple of Jenny Bishop’s high school kids were there along with the Town newspaper reporter. The Bozeman TV station sent a small news crew.

   The original tributary to the Madison had been restored and the water was flowing deep and clear. The main pool filled back up and once again took on its old shape with thin seams of current wandering through the dark center, easing over to caress the overhanging bear grass along the undercut bank, finally converging into a gravely riffle as it made its way downstream to the main river. The glassy surface revealed tiny midges fluttering on top, dancing, skittering, doing a delicate balancing act in the air, finally landing and floating tenuously with the S curves of the meandering current.

   At the very end of the pool, in the tail-out, the faintest dimple broke the surface of the water, a nose poked up and disappeared leaving a ring of the rise that slowly expanded into a concentric circle and vanished.

   A couple of school kids noticed and pointed.

A meadowlark balanced on an old fence post and sang, melodic notes drifting through the creek meadow, floating through the air, riding with the summer breeze on the way down to the Madison River.

   I stood in the back of the crowd and smiled.