When my daughter was five, she took Red Cross swimming lessons at Caspian Lake in Greensboro, and at the end of the two-week session, her coach guided the little kids to the deeper waters where they could then stretch down with their bare feet and touch a large flat rock named Big Yellow.

For my younger daughter, this is the summer of Big Yellow, a time of swimming with her friends to this nether region, flipping over in this gorgeously cool and clean lake, diving down with goggles, and surfacing with handfuls of smooth lake pebbles.

For generations, kids and adults have known this place in the lake through name and through experience. Watching the girls this late afternoon, I reminded myself again that knowing is both language and action. The name is essential, but so are the water-logged fingertips digging into the sandy lake bottom. As a writer, I often take that combination into the less sparkling areas of adult living; as a mother – and a woman – I’m taking my turn in these pristinely August Vermont waters.

But what is the way forward? I know what it isn’t. It’s not, as we once believed, plenty to eat and a home with all the modern conveniences. It’s not a 2,000-mile-long wall to keep Mexicans out or more accurate weapons to kill them. It’s not a better low-fat meal or a faster computer speed. It’s not a deodorant, a car, a soft drink, a skin cream. The way forward is found on a path through the wilderness of the head and heart – reason and emotion. Thinking, knowing, understanding.

– Laurence Gonzalez, Everyday Survival (a book well worth the read…..)



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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