A Few Words

Ice has hammered down around us. The sky is gray. All the kids along our road stayed home from school today, sliding in their winter boots over the slick roads. Inside, the wood stove burns hot. The children’s mittens dry on the hot tiles beneath the stove.

The ice has physically shrunk our world. No longer the season of long days and endless bike rides, the kids swing in the hammock hung in our kitchen and wonder when they’ll grow too heavy for that particular set-up.

My daughters’ father is far, far away these days, building shelters at Standing Rock in North Dakota. Scant word comes over the internet. Fuller stories arrive from a friend who has returned. My teenager is hungry for what shadowy news she can find. Late, late, into the nights we talk.

What can I say to her? History is a brutal, bloody business: merciless.

And yet – whether in one’s one tiny family or in the great sprawl of humanity, hope always, indomitably, rises out of struggle. Those few simple and enormous words, ancient as humankind itself: and now abideth hope, faith, charity.

Meanwhile, the ice falls.

…all states can be parceled into four types: pluralist, in which the state is seen by its people as having moral legitimacy; populist, in which government is viewed as an expression of the people’s will; “great beast,” in which the rulers’ power depends on using force to keep the populace cowed; and “great fraud,” in which the elite uses smoke and mirrors to convince the people of its inherent authority.

– Charles C, Mann, 1491

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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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