And what was your favorite part of the day? Was it the clear, cold illumination of fall sunlight as you tooth-chattered home this morning?


Was it the student who taught you about why buying a round of corndogs is a savvy move in the college bar?

No, though that was an unexpected uproarious moment, there at the end of a long day.

Was it feeling like a rock star when seemingly everyone you've ever taught showed up to hear you lecture?

No, though joking about a mosh pit for Hopkins and then realizing that suddenly it didn't feel like a joke--that was a great moment. And you have to admit that the applause was beyond what you expected, and that you loved it when students came to you afterwards to share the things that they see and love, and that one student beamed at you the pride she'd felt that that was her teacher up there, speaking. Yes, I wouldn't deny any of those things. They are so much the matter of my heart.

Well, then, was it the near-midnight walk home under the sleet-glittered umbrella, feeling your legs starting to loosen up with sheer fatigue?

No, though the rat-tatting of the season's swift change was strangely restful.

Stop guessing, already: it was feeling so fully cared about, at every turn over the course of the night, as though everyone made a deal that this was the day I should know. I feel myself cocooned, considered, held. I am startled to find myself startled by care, startled to find myself at once less clear on how to accept it and more desrious of embracing it than I knew.

And more tired than I had any idea, my toes starting to twitch and hop impatiently.