My Familiar

The past two mornings, a large fisher cat has slunk through my snow-covered garden, scoped out the compost, and wandered back into the woods, with that odd, weasel-esque serpentine back motion. The creature is dark as a rain-sodden forest floor.

My house is for sale now, and strangers have been wandering in and out. Do they admire the blue I’ve painted the windows? Are they as annoyed with the unfinished trim and stair treads as I am, or are they starry-eyed, as I would have been, years ago?

I’ve told none of them of this wild creature wandering in and out, my own particular secret, the wildness I’ll carry with me, no matter where we go.

The truth felt stranger than the myth.

Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods: the Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

fitting reading, these days

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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