Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Walk #251: Crickets and Decompression

My last day in Napa. I worked overtime and felt like I couldn't make the drive home. As I age, my night driving seems to be a bit impaired. Can't see worth crap. And I didn't want to put the elk, deer, raccoons, possums or myself at risk.

So I am staying another night, and will drive home in the morning.

I can't really write about my work life--confidentiality precludes me from doing so. But I can say that the last eight days have been some of the worst days I have ever spent as a Psychiatric RN. Everyday, I have been thankful to leave work without having been bludgeoned to death.

People who work in mental health have the highest work injury rate in the nation. We deal with the most unpredictable folks, with the scantiest amount of backup support. I have seen those TV shows where, in a prison, whole teams of armor covered guards subdue a violent, psychotic prisoner. Well, my job has the violent psychotic prisoner, without the armor or a team. We have a needle and maybe another guy or two to subdue the client.

After a 12 hour shift where I didn't stop to even eat, I figured I had done all my walking. I have experienced much violence over the last week. I'm tired. So I bought a bottle of mineral water (in glass---nothing should ever, ever be drunk from a plastic bottle) and headed out to my favorite decompressing spot in the Napa Valley.

It is on Bale Lane. It is a place where I can watch the sun finish going down. A tunnel of ancient oaks gives me perspective. It is a place where I can hear the crickets, in unison, chirp the current temperature. A place where I can unwind. Relax. Process the day. Look forward to tomorrow.

For me, these places have always been outside. No matter where I live, I always have a place of seclusion and beauty to retreat to when beaten up by events of the day. A place to go when I feel upset. Or anxious. Or blue.

Do you have such a place to go? Is it outside?


Woodswalker said...

You bet I do! On or along the Hudson River, watching the water flow in all seasons, the trees and plants moving through their cycles, the animals living and dying there according to their own rules. There I witness death and change as part of what should be, and feel in touch with some great goodness at the core of creation. Thank you for all your good work and your kindness toward those whom most people fear and despise.

greentangle said...

You know the old saying, a day without being bludgeoned to death is a good day.

Yes, the soothingest spots are always outside, although just getting back to my apartment and closing the door behind me is often a great relief too. Right now I'd say my favorite spot is known as the ledges, a long area of mostly flat rock between the Lake and some trees and undergrowth which block out most of the rest of the world. Hike there, have a seat, and stare at the water as long as needed.