Confessions of a teacher on vacation

My head feels empty. I have no thoughts.

I’m staring out at the lake, listening to the water lap rhythmically against the shore. Five ducks swim by. I have a cup of coffee and my laptop. My father-in-law reads The Shining in the lounge chair next to me. The shade of many trees shelters us over the deck. I hear my husband and my mother-in-law making breakfast inside the cabin.

This is the cabin.

The unincorporated town in the Northern Woods is small and simple. The one story cabin sits fifty yards from the lakeshore. It has four bedrooms and four bathrooms, one great room, a kitchen, a laundry room, and even a recreational room, yet it feels snug and cozy. And despite the numerous knick-knacks, art work, books, and pieces of furniture, it’s clutter-free and tidy. There’s no Internet, no phone. We have a TV to watch movies and plenty of books to read.

We eat, we talk, we sleep, we watch movies, we read, we write, we swim, we sunbathe, we cook, we clean, we go to town for ice cream, we play games, we bike, we canoe, we run. We don’t fish. We’re still city folk.

And my head is empty, but my heart is full. My spirit is nourished, but my brain has drained.

And I like that.

I don’t want to talk about politics or the Israel-Palestine conflict. I don’t want to know about the crime in Chicago. I don’t want to read the news, or click on the shared links on my Facebook newsfeed. I don’t want to discuss the universe or philosophy.

I don’t have ambitions. I write because I have to. I write for me. I document my life because I need to. I write because writing is breathing. If I can’t keep a journal or write my thoughts and observations, I am sinking deep within a heavy pool, my lungs collapsing with water. As soon as I write I reach the surface and gaspingly take in my first breath of air. I need to write.

And I know that an artist not sharing her work is selfish, but I don’t care.

And my imagination now turns to half-naked toddlers making sandcastles on the shore. They’re mine, in six years time. And I have no ambitions for fame or glory. I write because I need to; I write for me.

My brain is empty, but my heart is full.

And that’s good enough for me.

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