Radius of This Afternoon

The cold hammers down around us again, returning with March’s powerful jaws, reminding me of all those years when my daughters were little, and we were housebound around the wood stove. Always, I bundled up the baby and walked out into the cold, even in the rawest of days, and the house’s warmth welcomed us on our return.

My friends would bring stacks of Sunday New York Times, and I would read months-old news before the wood stove, children playing with dolls or wooden frying pans, devouring the news aptly while eating popcorn. Such was the world of living with little children…. Today is merely a dip back in my mothering days, a memory when the girls couldn’t zip their coats or read a book.

I’m glad to welcome this reprise from the world-out-there of news I’d rather not hear but will make its way to our door, one way or another, eventually. For now, I’ll shake down the coals, lay on more wood, and brew tea.

March is the in-between season, of library books, knitting, board games. End-of-winter pause.

The light stays longer in the sky, but it’s a cold light,
it brings no relief from winter.
My neighbor stares out the window,
talking to her dog. He’s sniffing the garden,
trying to reach a decision about the dead flowers.
It’s a little early for all this.
Everything’s still very bare—
nevertheless, something’s different today from yesterday.
We can see the mountain: the peak’s glittering where the ice catches the light…..

From Louise Gluck’s “March

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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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