Before I’ve barely begun planting the garden, wilderness has taken hold of this ground. This afternoon, with my weeding tool and hands, I dug in hard. The younger daughter came to see if asparagus tips had emerged, then wandered away. On this Saturday afternoon, I listened to the frogs rocking  out in the hidden woodland pond.

Maybe this reclamation via weeding should be a battle. But it’s not. Surrounded by woods, the wilderness spreads into my garden through an infinity of ways, in a weed I can’t name, a wildflower I’ve never seen. Every year, my obscure patch of this earth surges with life – the geese winging overhead, the peepers’ chorus, ten thousand variations of green that shift and mutate daily. Not so long ago, I planted a garden with my baby cooing sweetly, laid on her back on a blanket spread beneath an apple tree, her bare toes stretching out toward the sun. This earth is so much larger then me and mine, and that knowledge is as steady as the tool in my hand, a knowledge to take comfort in.

When we marvel at that blue marble in all its delicacy and frailty, and resolve to save the planet, we cast ourselves in a very specific role. That role is of a parent, the parent of the earth. But the opposite is the case. It is we humans who are fragile and vulnerable and the earth that is hearty and powerful, and holds us in its hands. In pragmatic terms, our challenge is less to save the earth from ourselves and more to save ourselves from an earth that, if pushed too far, has ample power to rock, burn, and shake us off completely.

– Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything

my garden/Woodbury, Vermont




By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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