After getting Mia to bed last night, I went running. Out on the trails around my house instead of trapped inside on a treadmill. I was running straight out and back a long road, had made the turn and found that knowing you are heading for home makes is so much easier to keep going. Jeff Buckley was singing "Hallelujah" on my iPod, and I was wondering again whether it was an inhale or an exhale at the beginning, and thinking how the end sounds just a bit like drowning, like drifting under and away. The trail led me off to the right, away from the road I was tracking, and toward a sharp curve that would carry me down into a creek bed and give me three or four strides across a wooden bridge slung over a trickle of water before I had to force my legs to carry me back up the hill and the rest of the way home. As I rounded that curve, down away from the traffic noises and into the songs of water and insects, I ran nearly into five adult deer ranging across the path and the small field it bisected. They were contemplating an attempt at crossing the busy road, and spent a second or two contemplating me before turning away from their risky crossing and back into the woods. For one second, maybe two, I ran beside and behind them, with them, following slowly until they hit their gait and disappeared amongst the trees.
It took growing light-headed for me to realize that I was holding my breath, to remind me to breathe. I kept running, the music kept pouring into my head, and was soon joined again by the racing engines and gusts of wind from cars passing on the ever-nearer road, but from that point on I ran through silence, chasing those deer through that thin slice of woods.