Vermont Stony Soil

Excerpt from Hidden View:

Abruptly, the clouds rent apart, sprinkling the house with fresh-washed sunlight, and I stood there, marveling at the sudden unveiling of beauty. In a shaft of sunlight, the old farmhouse with all its crumbling paint and spreading rot appeared burnished bright, flawless, amazingly just built. The cornfield so glossy green held twinkling jewels of water in the myriad golden manes of tassels. Overhead, the ample sky spread its colors of roseate and sapphire and pearl. I had thought building the house and farm on this knoll a foolhardy vision, but I wondered keenly now what hands and eyes, what laughing voices and rampart lovemaking, had begun this farm.

Through the truck’s rain-smeared window, I saw my little daughter sleeping, the tip of her tongue kittycat-ish between her garnet lips. The cold and wet had rubbed a rosy sheen over her round cheeks. If I left, got back in that truck and high-tailed my way down the road, I feared I would never cease fleeing. Tumbled behind me, irredeemably attached to my heels, perpetually dogging me, would gnaw my own festering failures, a shackle I would never be able to cleave apart. Somehow, I had fomented a conviction this iridescent beauty demanded a stony soil, rank offal, the misery of illness: that to pretend otherwise was a foolhardy and misguided notion. I could not flee toward a world of rainbows and sparkly unicorns. I believed, crude-formed as I knew my thinking was, that we had sown the seeds of our daughter Tansy and Hidden View Farm, and now, in the midst of cultivation’s hard haul, I had to grit my teeth and suffer through the trials of evolving growth. Howling in my young body, over the rolling flux of seasons, of dying autumn and bleak winter and joyous summer, rang the experience that this farm was earned with far more than a requisite pound of flesh. I believed Hal and I would come back to each other, this rift between us a rainy season that would, eventually, disperse and clear. I believed we would grow old together, that we would come to know the sharp lines around our eyes, the aged quiver of our hands, the thinness of spotted skin over knuckles as our hands gradually slowed. I believed to get to there, I had to endure through here. All things in due course. Hands to the shovel. Lean into your work. Persevere.


Photo by Molly S.

About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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