The Edge of the World

November light in Vermont is eerily dim, the daylight rapidly leaking away, and even what full sunlight we have is thin and scant. My older daughter complains, I don’t like this, to which I reply that no one does. Sometimes I wonder if an unspoken mainstay of my parenting might more concisely be: deal with it.

Yesterday, the girls and I took a short, unfamiliar hike in the White Mountains, switchbacking up an abandoned road. Below us, pine trees and mountains rose out of a sea of mist, and we never saw the valley floor. The girls were enchanted by this Lord of the Rings world. As we climbed higher, the view spread further, as if we peered down into an endless ocean with sacred islands rising majestically from its billows.

At the top, we found a blasted site where someone had once intended to build a house, and – likely through lack of money – abandoned that project and wandered off elsewhere. Fox prints tracked through the house now. The younger daughter remarked that the school bus wouldn’t come. She’d have to ski to school, she noted with real delight.

Stay honest whatever happens
says the bamboo bent under snow
over my window

– Buson

Mt. Washington Valley, NH


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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