Squishy Season

‘Tis the season of mud in Vermont. I once had a neighbor (now relocated back to an enormous city) who hated mud. Her daughter and my daughter were both little then, with rubber boots and pink raincoats decorated with kitties, and the girls adored splashing in March and April puddles, digging with sticks in the ditches along our roadsides, and baking mud cakes in kitchens they built with fallen branches, on carpeted floors of pine needles. Sweet days.

The girls spent many more hours at my house than at hers, shedding their filthy and soaked clothes on our porch and sprawling before the wood stove to warm up, eating popcorn and drinking honeyed tea and giggling. Sweet days.

Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downwards through the mud and slush of opinion and tradition, and pride and prejudice, appearance and delusion, through the alluvium which covers the globe, through poetry and philosophy and religion, through church and state, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, till we come to a hard bottom that rocks in place which we can call reality and say, “This is and no mistake.”

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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Burlington, Vermont

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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