The Value of One Word

My 11-year-old opened a box with a brand-new puzzle today and said happily, “This smells puzzle-y.”

What a world this is, where a kid can make up a word that’s indicative of so much – winter evenings around a table, cheerfully chatting – and spin together that treasured past with the tangible promise of future pleasure literally in her hands.

Our physical world is dictated by laws of equal and opposite action; the earth gives generously, but the earth taketh, too, and doesn’t skimp on the taking. Which is perhaps why that word puzzle-y shines so brilliantly. Like Noah’s olive branch, my daughter’s word treasures the past and beckons in the goodness of the future.

And it came to pass… the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry…. (The Lord said) bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth… While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Genesis 8:13-22, King James Version

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Stowe, 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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