Thoughts on a Summer Night Off

It’s summer and I’m single, so I eat simply and late. My CSA bounty came today; yellow squash, bunches of flat parsley, ugly tomatoes. I cook a strange concoction of elbow pasta, squash and eggs. Somehow, the parsley makes it work.

I don’t mind eating three meals alone, but I do mind the utter exhaustion I feel when, each night, I realize a pile of dishes awaits only me. A clerk at Trader Joe’s told me that he meditates by staring at his scrubbing hands; this just makes me dizzy.

Not everything is about nursing, but my mind is always full with it. The days off spent in hours of work on my laptop feel as unpredictable as my first months as a new grad. I am so tired now, after this day of writing. In a text message to my sister I felt too cross-eyed to poke: I feel like I’m working on everything and nothing. I know exactly how to prioritize to keep horribly ill people alive, but the organization of this new work escapes me. 

My thoughts have started to morph into things to write. Before sleep, I scribble, then read lines from May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude. My copy is in pieces, but her voice is complete:

“I write too many letters and too few poems. It may be outwardly silent here but in the back of my mind is a clamor of human voices, too many needs, hopes, fears. I hardly ever sit still without being haunted by the ‘undone’ and the ‘unsent.’ I often feel exhausted, but it is not my work that tires (work is rest); it is the effort of pushing away the lives and needs of others before I can come to the work with any freshness and zest.”

There is always something that could be written, should be written. So many words, she’s right, born of task, or of obligation, so few the freeing words of rest. These words come at the end of the day, quietly, usually while washing the dishes.

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