And the bliss of return.

I have things to tell, especially about wild animals--a heron, a deer--that turn up in surprising places, but I'm tired enough to drop, and so my flannel sheets are going to get my full attention before you do.

* * *

Yes, in fact, my resolution to sleep gratuitously and fabulously every night is going to work here in Gambier, as well. It was important that I find that out for sure.

Driving east on I-74 near Cincinnati, I saw something standing in the median and was stunned when, after a second or two of double-take, my mind resolved it into a heron. A heron, standing in the median? It was facing the eastbound lanes, and I was past it too quickly to catch it with the camera or even to think of a way to keep it from walking out of the median and into traffic. Just stay where you are, I said and said and said, pushing onward with everyone else. We were all going so, so fast.

Both the officehouse and my real house have certain smells that I stop smelling when I haven't been away for a long time, and it was good to smell those smells upon arrival. I had this experience every time I returned to my house in Ithaca, too: a rush of happiness that everything was right where I'd left it, in greater or lesser stages of disarray, and that the radiators still sang the same songs, and that I was in my own bed, and that when I woke up in that bed the next day, everything would smell like where I lived.

I walked out at 10 p.m. to the post office and the bookstore. My tiny post office box can hold so much more than it ought to be able to hold, I discovered; I now have to go back for the tub of mail that I can only pick up during business hours. As I approached my yard, I was turning something difficult over and over and over in my mind, something about love and seeing and silence, and the deer in front of me was moving before I realized that there was a deer in front of me. We were both startled enough to jump. The deer reminded me of my tiny bear of a dog, who at that point in the night was undoubtedly sleeping deafly somewhere in my parents' house. I spoke quietly to the deer, and she lingered, warily. We contemplated one another for a few minutes. She had been eating out of the bed that surrounds my house and, once I startled her, had moved toward the front of the yard. As I eased myself into the front porch and then into the house, she made a slow return to her eating from my yard. I know it's no good thing for the deer to feel comfortable around humans. And yet, she was such a welcome home.