Dirty Shoes

We’ve officially entered into the season of increasing darkness – not merely politically but because of the planet’s tilt. My teenager, home early from school, slouches at the kitchen table and moans about the gray. I advise her to head out for a run in the rain. She’ll return, pink-cheeked, and far more cheery, her running shoes smeared with greasy mud on their soles.

Post-election, all these words have surfaced again, the same ones Vermonters use over and over – community, persistence, hope – words that are distressingly meaningless without tangible action. How do our footprints mark our paths? For my daughter who will mature to adulthood under a new administration, I’m going to keep advising her to muddy your feet, girl. In my garden, the johnny-ups are yet blooming amongst the weeds.

I’ve been reading Scholastique Mukasonga’s Cockroaches, her memoir of growing up in Rwanda, and that’s all I’m going to write about this slim, powerful book.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

November color


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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