Rayona’s encounter with Father Tom at Bearpaw Lake spoils their relationship. After the incident, Father Tom becomes nervous and appears to want to rid himself of Rayona, reversing his earlier lectures on why she should remain on the reservation. Instead of being hurt by Father Tom’s eagerness to see her go, Rayona is glad, as the encounter with Father Tom has made her disillusioned with him and strengthened her resolve to go back to Seattle. Rayona does not leave for Seattle, however, and eventually decides to stay near the lake. She has broken free of virtually all association with her former life, as no one from her old life knows where she is. Now that she has gained this emotional distance from her old life, she no longer feels the need to create a physical distance from it.
Sitting by the train tracks, Rayona claims to be “happy for no reason,” but the reason for her happiness is more evident to us than it is to her. Now that Rayona has severed all ties to the life she has known for fifteen years, she is free to live, or imagine the life she wants to create, and her happiness comes from this freedom. Even though her ideal life is vague and has no outline or plan, she has still escaped into a new world in which she has control of her future and can create her own life.