Chipped Lives

It’s so darn cold here I woke up in the dark this morning with the cold scraping my cheeks. Leftover pork bubbles on the wood stove with red chili and beans: we need heat and bright color.

Despite the cold, the March light is sparklingly beautiful. My young neighbor and I slid around the ice surrounding the sugarhouse, covered with a few inches of sugary snow. I offer him salvaged doors and windows, piles of wood; he’s happy.

Less here; more down the road. This morning, while my wood stove slowly warmed our house, I remembered a Hemingway line about the surprise at the end of Ulysses. Finishing Finkel’s new book this morning, I discovered an incredible surprise in his ending. The line I snipped below is perhaps one of the few pieces of advice I could truly offer my 18-year-old daughter, this young woman who has already met the hole in her heart with burning rage.

The neighbor loads his Subaru. I’m relieved to have these potential pieces of home travel down the road. Build a greenhouse. Plant more seeds. Thrive.

I think that most of us feel like something is missing from our lives, and I wondered then if Knight’s (the hermit) journey was to seek it. But life isn’t about searching endlessly to find what’s missing; it’s about learning to live with the missing parts.

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

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About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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4 Responses to Chipped Lives

  1. A beautiful snippet. Thank you for reminding me of it. A good read.

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  2. Fast and fascinating Maine hermit read!

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  3. Mike Finkel says:

    Thank you for reading it! (I’m the journalist who wrote it.) — Mike Finkel

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  4. Thanks for writing this exquisite book! I haven’t read anything in a very long time that took my breath away so completely. I was lucky enough to find this book at the right time in my life. Reading it did exactly what I needed: it opened my life up beyond my own self, in a completely unsentimental way. I appreciate your visit here….

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